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PIUS 






POPE PIUS II 




POPE PIUS II 

BUST ATTRIBUTED TO PAOLO ROMANO 
Serbia A pa rtments. yati< a tt 



PIUS II 

AENEAS SILVIUS PIGGOLOMINI) 
THE HUMANIST POPE 



BY 



CECILIA M. ADY 

AUTHOR OF "A HISTORY OF MILAN UNDER THE SFORZA 



WITH SIXTEEN ILLUSTRATIONS 



METHUEN & GO. LTD. 

36 ESSEX STREET W. G. 

LONDON 



First Published in 



TO 

MY MOTHER 

IN MEMORY OF HAPPY DAYS IN ITALY 



PREFACE 

IN every period of the world s history it is the intel 
lectual and spiritual ideals which give character to 
the age. This is profoundly true of the Renaissance. 
The contrast between the mediaeval and the modern world 
has often been too sharply drawn, but nevertheless the 
fact remains that Italy in the fifteenth century was the 
exponent of a new intellectual ideal. Humanism is the 
child of the Renaissance, although the causes which brought 
it into being have their root far back in the Middle Ages. 
Humanism, moreover, is the controlling force which lies 
behind every aspect of Renaissance life. The highly 
civilised society, the political aspirations, the artistic and 
literary development of that marvellous age alike find 
their source in the humanist spirit. Many gloried in the 
name of humanist great educators such as Guarino and 
Vittorino da Feltre, scholars such as Poggio and Aretino, 
Filelfo and Aurispa, to say nothing of the countless men 
of action, princes, warriors, and statesmen who were at 
once the pupils and the patronsv of the men of letters. 
Yet among all that goodly company there is no fuller 
manifestation of humanism than that presented by ^Eneas 
Silvius Piccolomini. There were greater scholars than he, 
and more brilliant statesmen ; but he belonged both to 
the intellectuals and to the men of action. He was the 
exponent of the good life, as conceived by the humanists, 

vii 



viii POPE PIUS II 

and he was also able to realise it in his own career. For 
the ideal of these Renaissance philosophers was no scholar s 
Utopia. The chosen test of their system was its value in 
practical life, and its object was the training of the states 
man, the perfect adaptation of the individual to the great 
society in which he must play his part. 

Thus the story of ^Eneas Silvius affords unique insight 
into the phase of thought which we call humanism. It 
provides at once a clue to its meaning and an opportunity 
of estimating its value in the history of civilisation. From 
the day when the eager lad of eighteen left his home among 
the hills of Southern Tuscany to become a student at the 
University of Siena the gleaming banner of humanism was 
ever before his eyes. A ready pen and a persuasive tongue 
formed his chief equipment for the battle of life, and his 
rise by these means to the Papal throne is one of the most 
conspicuous triumphs of the new learning. The six years 
of his pontificate give us a practical example of the applica 
tion of Renaissance ideals to politics. In Pius n s wise 
government of the States of the Church, and in his handling 
of the ecclesiastical problems of the day, we see the strength 
of humanism. His death at Ancona, on the eve of his 
departure for the East, and the shattering of his great 
crusading schemes show the limitations of humanism, 
which could not rekindle the vanished enthusiasms of 
Europe. 

The chief authority for the subject is throughout 
.Eneas Silvius himself. His letters, his histories, his essays, 
and above all that fascinating autobiography of his Papacy, 
the Commentaries, are one long process of self -revelation. 
From them we learn much of contemporary persons and 
events, but still more of their author. The view of life 



PREFACE ix 

which they set forth is half cynical, half humorous, and 
wholly individual. Tolerant of human frailty and keenly 
alive to natural beauty, ^Eneas reveals himself in his 
writings as a man who has found the w r orld a pleasant 
place, in spite of drawbacks, and who would fain share his 
joy with others. 

The greater part of ^Eneas s works are to be found in 
print, but they are scattered among various unprepossessing 
and none too accessible volumes, dating from the fifteenth 
to the eighteenth century. From these it has been my 
task to unearth them, and the chief merit that I would 
claim for this biography is that it is based upon a study 
of the hero s own writings. Dr. Rudolf Wolkan, in Der 
Briefwechsel des Eneas Silvius Piccolomini, which is still in 
process of publication, has done vaulable service in collect 
ing and editing the letters of ^Eneas Silvius in an authori 
tative form. He has ransacked the archives of Italy and 
Germany in search of manuscripts, and the result of his 
labours has been the collection of no less than 1263 letters 
belonging to the pre-Papal period, as against the 559 
letters known to Voigt. For the history of Pius n s 
pontificate, I, in common with all students of Papal history, 
owe much to the valuable collection of diplomatic docu 
ments contained in Dr. Pastor s History of the Popes. 
Georg Voigt s Enea Silvio de Piccolomini als Papst Pius II 
und sein Zeitalter still holds its own as the standard work of 
reference for the life and times of ^Eneas Silvius. It is a 
monument of learning, and an almost inexhaustible mine 
of information, although the author, like the Germans of 
the fifteenth century, is unable to judge fairly of a character 
that is essentially Latin. The majority of other writers 
have flown to the opposite extreme, and have accepted 



x POPE PIUS II 

^Eneas at his own valuation. Dr. Creighton, however, has 
approached this subtle character-study with penetrating 
insight, and has appreciated .ZEneas even while he criticised 
him. His essay on ^Eneas Silvius, and the volume of the 
History of the Papacy which treats of his career, can hardly 
fail to be the inspiration of all future work on the subject. 

In conclusion, I would thank all those who have helped 
me both with regard to the letterpress and to the illustra 
tions. The portrait of Pius n which forms the frontispiece 
is from a contemporary bust in the Borgia Apartments of 
the Vatican. The name of the sculptor is not known, but 
there is good reason for supposing it to be the work of 
Paolo Romano, who was certainly employed by Pius n. 
It is reproduced here for the first time, and my thanks are 
due to Signer Francesco Cagiati for enabling me to obtain a 
photograph. The medals and coins reproduced opposite 
page 1 80 are from casts taken in the British Museum 
through the kindness of Mr. G. F. Hill. I should also like 
to express my thanks to Conte Silvio and Contessa Picco- 
lomini for their hospitality during a golden day at Pienza ; 
to Conte Francesco Bandini-Piccolomini for the assistance 
which he rendered to me in Siena; and to Signor Attilio 
Boni for his information with regard to the transference of 
the body of Pius n to its final resting-place in the Church 
of S. Andrea della Valle. 

CECILIA M. ADY 

S. HUGH S COLLEGE, OXFORD 
September 1913 



CONTENTS 

CHAP. PAGE 

I. THE UNIVERSITY OF SIENA . . i 

II. TRAVELS AND SECRETARYSHIPS . . .26 

III. THE COUNCIL OF BASEL , . . 49 

IV. THE IMPERIAL CHANCERY . . . -73 
V. THE CORONATION OF FREDERICK III . . .98 

VI. THE FALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE . . .120 

VII. THE PAPAL ELECTION . . . . .142 

VIII. THE CONGRESS OF MANTUA . . . . 157 

IX. Pius II AND ITALY . . . . .182 

X. Pius II AND EUROPE ..... 206 

XI. THE PAPAL COURT ..... 236 

XII. PlENZA AND THE PlCCOLOMINI .... 2$9 

XIII. THE MAN OF LETTERS ..... 280 

XIV. PlUS II AND THE CRUSADE .... 304 

XV. THE LAST JOURNEY ..... 326 

BIBLIOGRAPHY ...... 349 

INDEX .... . . 357 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

BUST OF POPE Pius II. ATTRIBUTED TO PAOLO ROMANO IN 

THE BORGIO APARTMENTS, VATICAN . Frontispiece 

FACING PAGE 

PlENZA . . . . . . 6 

Photograph by LOMBARDI, Siena 

/ENEAS SILVIUS SETS OUT FOR THE COUNCIL OF BASEL. 
FROM THE FRESCO BY PINTORICCHIO IN THE PICCOLO- 
MINI LIBRARY, SIENA . . . . .26 

Photograph by BROGI, Florence 

SILVIUS RECEIVES THE POET S CROWN FROM FRED 
ERICK III. FROM THE FRESCO BY PINTORICCHIO IN 

THE PlCCOLOMINI LIBRARY, SlENA . . 74 

Photograph by BROGI, Florence 



SILVIUS PRESENTS LEONORA OF PORTUGAL TO 
FREDERICK III. FROM THE FRESCO BY PINTORICCHIO IN 

THE PlCCOLOMINI LIBRARY, SlENA . . .114 

Photograph by BROGI, Florence 

THE SULTAN MAHOMET II. FROM THE PORTRAIT BY 

GENTILE BELLINI IN THE LA YARD COLLECTION, VENICE 126 
Photograph by ALINARI, Florence 

CORONATION OF Pius II. FROM BOOK-COVER OF THE 

BlCCHERNA, 1460, IN THE STATE ARCHIVES, SlENA . 152 

Photograph by LOMBARDI, Siena 

MEDAL AND GOLD DUCAT OF Pius II, IN THE BRITISH 

MUSEUM . . . . . . .180 

PALAZZO PICCOLOMINI, PIENZA .... 204 

Photograph by AUNARI, Florence 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



Xlll 



CATHEDRAL (FAADE), PIENZA. 

Photograph by LOMBARDI, Siena 

LOGGIA DEL PAPA, SIENA 

Photograph by LOMBARDI, Siena 

CATHEDRAL (INTERIOR), PIENZA 

Photograph by ALINARI, Florence 



FACING PAGE 

. 236 



266 



272 



COPE PRESENTED TO PlUS II BY THOMAS PALAEOLOGUS, IN 

THE PIENZA MUSEUM . . . 278 

Photograph by LOMBARDI, Siena 

WELL-HEAD IN THE PALAZZO PICCOLOMINI, PIENZA . . 302 

Photograph by LOMBARDI, Siena 

Pius II AT ANCONA. FROM THE FRESCO BY PINTORICCHIO 

IN THE PICCOLOMINI LIBRARY, SIENA . . . 332 

Photograph by BROGI, Florence 

TOMB OF Pius II. IN THE CHURCH OF S. ANDREA DELLA 

VALLE, ROME ...... 340 

Photograph by BROGI, Florence 



SILVAKUM AMATOR ET VARIA YIDENDI COPIOUS 

Pll II, Commentarti, lib. ix 



PIUS II 

CHAPTER I 
THE UNIVERSITY OF SIENA 

" r | -\ HERE rises in the Val d Orcia a hill, crowned by 
a plateau about a mile long, and much less than a 
1 mile wide. Here, on a spur which looks towards 
the rising sun in winter, lies a town of small repute, yet 
possessed of salubrious air, and well furnished with wine and 
provisions of every kind." l So wrote Pope Pius n, the 
condottiere of letters who had won his way to greatness by 
means of a persuasive tongue and a ready pen, of his native 
Corsignano, the town which he was to adorn and ennoble, 
and to stamp with the undying impress of his personality 
under the name of Pienza. 

The description is modest enough, yet apart from its 
illustrious son there is little or nothing that is remarkable 
about Pienza. Some three miles to the west runs the Via 
Francigena the way of the Franks to Rome and along 
that great high road the countless stream of conquerors 
and pilgrims came and went, leaving the remote Tuscan 
townlet unnoticed and unvisited. To-day Pienza is still 
farther removed from the highway of traffic. Its nearest 
link with the cosmopolitan world lies fifteen miles to the 
east in the Chiana valley, where trains with their freight of 
tourists halt at the wayside station of Montepulciano. Few 

1 Pii Sccundi Pont. Max., Commentarii, lib. ii. p. 44 (Frankfurt, 
1614). 

I 



2 POPE PIUS II 

of these modern conquerors leave the beaten track to ascend 
even the steep hill-side, on the summit of which towers the 
fortress-city of Montepulciano. Fewer still penetrate across 
the bare tract of country which separates Montepulciano 
from Pienza. Yet for a little company of adventurers the 
way is not too far, and the motive of their perseverance has 
its source in an earlier pilgrimage. On a day in February 
1459, the Roman Pontiff, going with cardinals and princes 
in his train to meet the rulers of the Christian world in 
conference at Mantua, turned aside from the great highway 
to visit the home of his childhood. Only a few months 
earlier, /Eneas Silvius Piccolomini had mounted the throne 
of S. Peter under the title of Pius n, and he determined that 
his native village should share his new-found glory. In the 
course of a three days visit the scheme was made which 
gave Pienza its title to fame. As the birthplace of /Eneas 
Silvius the name of Corsignano might perhaps have survived 
in history. As the object of his filial love Pienza remains 
a unique specimen of Renaissance architecture, with its 
cathedra] and episcopal palace, its Palazzo Pubblico and 
Palazzo Piccolomini grouped round the tiny Piazza Pio 
Secondo, a single artistic whole. The atmosphere of the 
country is, even to-day, that of the Middle Ages. It is a 
land of ruined fortresses, bleak hills, and uncompromising 
ash-grey soil. 1 Yet here amid mediaeval surroundings rises 
Pienza, a fair flower of the Renaissance planted by one who 
was the living embodiment of the spirit of his age. 

The origin of Pienza s greatness dates from the opening 
of the fifteenth century, when it formed the refuge of 
a decayed Sienese noble and his family, representatives 
of the once illustrious house of Piccolomini. In the 
thirteenth century, that hey-day of municipal prosperity, 
the Piccolomini ranked among the leading families of Siena. 
Closely allied with the proud house of Tolomei, which 
claimed descent from the Ptolemies of Egypt, they belonged 

1 Gagnoni Schippisi (Terre Toscane, Firenze, 1902) describes the Val 
d Orcia. 



THE UNIVERSITY OF SIENA 3 

to the class of merchant nobles whose high birth formed no 
obstacle to their pursuit of business. To men such as these 
Siena owed her most signal triumphs both in war and 
commerce. As merchants, they enriched the city with the 
proceeds of their traffic in the marts of Europe ; as warriors, 
they upheld the honour of the Republic in the unending 
struggle with its Florentine rival. So long as they had 
their share in the responsibilities and glories of the city- 
State, both Siena and these noble families prospered. 
When, however, towards the end of the thirteenth century, 
the nobles were ousted from the government, not only did 
the military efficiency of Siena suffer, but the nobles, 
deprived of their occupation, spent themselves and their 
substance in private feuds. The Piccolomini experienced 
to the full the evil days which had fallen upon the nobility. 
In the course of some hundred years they had sunk to a 
condition little short of destitution ; their vast possessions 
round Siena were all lost, and Silvius Posthumus, on 
succeeding to the family inheritance, found that it was 
practically limited to Corsignano. Here, in the retirement 
of his own estate, poverty seemed easier to face than in 
Siena. Having taken to himself a wife Vittoria Forte- 
guerra as aristocratic and as impecunious as himself, he 
settled upon this barren property, and on S. Luke s Day 
(18 Oct.) 1405 a son was born to him who was to revive the 
ancient glories of his race. 

The childhood of ^Eneas Silvius is not without its 
inevitable background of wonder. Platina, in his life of 
Pius n, thus relates the dream which troubled Vittoria 
before the birth of her son : " Now his Mother when 
she was big with Child dreamed that she had brought 
forth a Boy with a Mitre on his head ; at which she was 
afraid (as people are apt to make the worst of things) that 
her dream betokened some dishonour to their Child and 
Family ; nor could she be eased of her fear till she heard 
that her Son was made Bishop of Trieste. And upon that 
news she was freed from all fear, and gave God thanks that 



4 POPE PIUS II 

she saw her Son more happy than she expected." l When 
the little ^neas was three years old he fell from a high wall 
and made a miraculous recovery. A few years later the 
children of Corsignano played a game in which ^Eneas was 
crowned Pope and received the homage of his companions. 
At the age of eight he was tossed by a bull and suffered no 
injury. 2 Apart from these incidents the child grew up 
among surroundings that were commonplace and even 
sordid. Vittoria was the mother of no less than eighteen 
children, of whom several died in infancy, and only ^Eneas 
and his two sisters Laudomia and Caterina eventually 
survived. At a time when there were some ten small 
children to support, grinding poverty must have been the 
distinguishing feature of the Piccolomini household. Silvius 
Posthumus could only provide for his family by himself 
undertaking the cultivation of his estates, which lay for 
the most part on that strange chalky soil to be found 
among the volcanic hills of Southern Tuscany. In outward 
appearance it is unprepossessing enough, especially where 
the rains have furrowed grey and white gullies on the hill 
sides, or where the loosely-knit earth has crumbled into 
fantastically shaped knolls and lumps. Yet unremitting 
toil can make this country enormously productive, as may 
be seen at Monte Oliveto not many miles away, where the 
labours of generations of monks have transformed a barren 
hill-side into a smiling garden. The modern road from 
Montepulciano to Pienza passes at first through undulating 
well-wooded country, while, here and there, a break in the 
woods affords a view over the smiling Chiana valley. 
Gradually, however, the woods disappear, and the land 
scape grows sterner. Only an occasional farm with its 
circle of ricks, or a solitary oak bent by the wind, breaks 
the prevailing desolation. The Val di Chiana has given 
place to the bleak grandeur of the Val d Orcia. Finally 

1 Platina, B., Lives of the Popes, p. 389 (Rycaut s Translation, London, 
1688). 

2 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 2. 



THE UNIVERSITY OF SIENA 5 

the road reaches the plateau on which Pienza itself stands, 
and the rough sign-posts, which proclaim the land on either 
side of the way to be the property of the Piccolomini, call 
up a vivid picture of the scenes amidst which ^Eneas and 
his father laboured. 

South of Pienza the ground falls away abruptly into the 
valley, and on the extreme edge of the plateau, overlooking 
the vines and olives which cover the slope, stood the old 
house of the Piccolomini. From this spot the whole 
panorama of the Val d Orcia spreads itself before the eye. 
Below, over its chalky bed, winds the river from which the 
valley takes its name here slow and serpent-like, there 
with the force and rapidity of a torrent. On the opposite 
bank tower the majestic heights of Monte Amiata, the 
grandest of all the Tuscan hills, her slopes clad with groves 
of oak and beech and chestnut, her summit veiled in a 
wreath of cloud. Southward runs the road to Rome, 
bearing with it a thousand memories and myriad dreams. 
To the north, countless gentle hills crowned with city or 
fortress lose themselves in the blue distance, and among 
them that which boasts the fairest crown of all Siena, the 
City of the Virgin, poised as a bird ready for flight. For 
eighteen years this threefold prospect in all its variety of 
light and shade formed part of the daily life of the future 
Pope, moulding in a hundred unsuspected ways his 
peculiarly impressionable and sensuous nature. Surely 
it is no stretch of imagination to see in this view from his 
father s house the epitome of ^Eneas Silvius s career. Siena 
was the mother- city from whence he sprang, the centre of 
his deep patriotic feeling, and at the same time the unnatural 
parent who had thrust forth the Piccolomini from her 
gates. The mingled sentiments of pride and bitterness 
with which the young yneas must have gazed on her dim 
outline were produced in every phase of his subsequent 
relations with the Republic. Rome, on the other hand, 
must needs be the ultimate goal of one who united the 
ambitions of a humanist and an ecclesiastic. Not until 



6 POPE PIUS II 

^Eneas had settled in Rome as a Cardinal was he able to 
obtain access to the books for which he had longed since his 
student-days. In Rome alone lay the sure path of ecclesi 
astical preferment. Yet when the strivings of a lifetime had 
been crowned with success and ^Eneas sat on the Papal 
throne, his chief pleasure was to escape from Rome, and to 
seek relief from the burden of his cares amid the scenes of 
his childhood. Each year as the spring came round, that 
" lover of forests, and eager sight-seer," 1 as he called him 
self, set out on his travels ; and well as he learned to 
appreciate the beauties of the Papal States, it was to his 
beloved Tuscan contado that his steps most readily turned. 
Of all his country wanderings, none afforded him such 
entire delight as the summer spent on Monte Amiata, in the 
ancient Abbey of S. Salvatore, where, far removed from the 
heat and turmoil of the valley, he could picnic beside a 
running stream beneath the shade of the chestnut trees, 
and fancy himself already in Paradise. 

The elder Piccolomini had spent some years in Milan 
at the Court of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, and was not with 
out education or knowledge of the world. To him ^Eneas 
owed his early training, supplemented by the instruction 
of the village priest, who ministered to his flock in the 
ancient Pieve of SS. Vito e Modesto. The little dark 
church with its round tower is still standing in the fields 
outside the town, proud in the possession of a font from 
which two Popes received baptism. 2 From the first, 
^Eneas threw himself eagerly into his studies, devoting all 
his spare moments to his books. " Yet what literary 
education could he obtain," asks Gregorio Lolli, " there, 
buried in the country, without books or teachers ? " 3 
Silvius and Vittoria realised that their son was worthy of a 
better education than Corsignano could offer, and they 

1 " Silvarum amator, et varia videndi cupidus " (Commentarii, lib. ix. 
p. 217). 

2 Pius ii and his nephew Pius in. 

3 Gregorio Lolli to the Cardinal of Pavia, Cardinalis Papiensis Epistolae, 
Ep. 47 (printed in Commentarii, Pii u, pp. 492-5). 



r-r. ( 




THE UNIVERSITY OF SIENA 7 

determined to send him to the University of Siena. The 
effort was well worth making, for once ^Eneas had graduated 
in jurisprudence he would have an assured means of liveli 
hood as a lawyer. Moreover, Silvius s half-sister Barto- 
lomea l had married Niccol6 Lolli, a citizen of Siena, and 
by lodging under their roof ^Eneas could reduce the ex 
penses of his University career to the lowest possible figure. 
Thus it came about that in 1423 ^Eneas turned his back 
upon the old house on the hill-side, and took the northern 
road to Siena, there to plunge into the vivid life of an 
Italian University. From that time forward ^Eneas s lot 
was cast far from Corsignano. There is, in fact, no record 
of his return to his native village from the day that he left 
it as a lad of eighteen until he entered it in 1459 as the head 
of Christendom. Yet throughout the crowded years in 
which lie rose from obscurity to greatness, the memory of 
his Tuscan home was never allowed to fade. Strong 
family affection, love of home, and joy in the pleasures 
of country-life were fundamental to his nature. After 
he became Pope, the humanist Campano found a sure way 
to please and distract him when he composed a verse 
playing upon the Christian names of the Piccolomini 
parents. Pius n, he said, was distinguished by his love of 
the woods and his delight in travel, as well as by a glorious 
career of conquest. What else could be expected in the 
son of Silvius and Vittoria ? 

Quod victore Pio fieri tot proelia cernis, 

Invalidasque suis hostibus esse manus ; 

Ne mirere : Pium peperit victoria mater 

Matris ab uberibus vincere sic didicit. 

Quod placeant silvae, et magnum lustraverit orbem 

Silvius hac genuit conditione pater. 

Jure igitur latae spaciatur, et omnia vincit, 

Patris obire orbem, vincere matris habet. 2 

1 Bartolomea s father was a Tolomei. She and Silvius had the same 
mother. 

2 Commentarii, lib. ix. p. 217 . " Do not marvel if you see Pius 
victorious in every battle, and the strength of his enemies of no avail. 



8 POPE PIUS II 

When ^Eneas came to Siena in 1423, the fair Tuscan city 
must have teemed with new and thrilling experiences for 
the country-bred boy. Since the overthrow of foreign rule 
on the death of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Siena had gradually 
settled down to a period of peace and revived prosperity 
in which the fury of party-strife was abated. The nobility 
had been reduced to a state of impotence which disarmed 
suspicion, with the result that some of the minor offices in 
the Republic were thrown open to the Gentiluomini. Indeed, 
the new Government included four out of the five Monti 
or factions, which had vied with each other for supreme 
power in the State during the fourteenth century. Only 
the Dodicini were wholly excluded, a faction composed 
of small tradesmen and notaries who have been de 
scribed as " the worst rulers that ever held sway over 
this ill-governed State." l They now reaped the reward 
of having helped to betray their city to Visconti, and 
an annual festival was instituted to celebrate their over 
throw. Owing to this settlement, Siena had never 
seemed gayer, more splendid, or more prosperous than 
when this young scion of the Piccolomini entered her 
gates. The forces to which she owed her supremacy 
were not abated, while the spirit of the early 
Renaissance had come to crown her with a new magni 
ficence. 

From the first distant view of her forest of towers, 
" ten times more numerous than those of S. Gemignano 
to-day," 2 there was everything in Siena s outward appear 
ance to attract the eye and fire the patriotic pride of 
^Eneas Silvius. Few cities in Europe at that time boasted 
more splendid buildings, few were cleaner or better ordered, 
nowhere had the civic spirit fuller manifestation. The 

Pius was born of his mother Vittoria, and from his mother s womb he 
learned to conquer. If the woods delight him and he traverses the 
great world, his father Silvius begat him with this disposition. His 
father impels him to encompass the globe, his mother to conquer." 
1 Langton Douglas, History of Siena (London, 1902), p. 153. 

~ Op. dt., p. 122. 



THE UNIVERSITY OF SIENA 9 

building of the Duomo, most famous and most character 
istic of Siena s monuments, had from the first been carried 
out under the auspices of the Republic. The body of the 
church dated from the thirteenth century, but the facade 
had not been completed fifty years when ^Eneas saw it. 
As to the chief wonder of the Duomo, the pavement pictures, 
some of the earliest among them were even then in process 
of execution. 1 Next in importance to the Duomo stood 
the great Palazzo Pubblico with its soaring tower. There 
on the Piazza del Campo, at the centre of Siena s life, it 
showed itself the true parent of the surrounding palaces, 
which were planned after the same design. Scattered up 
and down the city were the Fountains, the favourite meeting- 
places of both politicians and lovers. On all sides were 
signs that in the days of her greatness the citizens of 
Siena had placed the glory of the Republic above per 
sonal ambitions. In the fifteenth century the great days 
were over, and a long period of faction and misrule had 
undermined the very foundations of the State. Yet the 
traditions of an earlier age still survived. Great public 
institutions such as the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala 
were under communal management, and the University itself 
was a child of the Republic, its professors being chosen and 
paid by the State. The pride of the Sienese in their city 
also showed itself in such practical matters as the con 
dition of the streets. Early in the fourteenth century the 
main thoroughfares were paved with brick, and the side- 
streets with stones, while crooked alleys were gradually 
made straight, and narrow lanes widened or closed. There 
were strict laws against blocking up the main streets with 
tables or tents, and against throwing water or refuse out 
of the windows. Moreover, every citizen was bound on 
pain of a fine to sweep the space in front of his own house at 

1 The series of Old Testament subjects on the pavement below the 
high altar, of which " King David with Four Musicians " forms the 
central picture, were executed in the years 1423-4. Cf. R. Hobart Cust, 
Tlie Pavement Masters of Siena. 



io POPE PIUS II 

least once a week. 1 Thus in many ways Siena was a model 
to other cities of the day. Generations of citizens had made 
her beauty and orderliness their peculiar pride, while Nature 
had employed her subtlest arts to crown her loveliness. 
What wonder if ^Eneas lost his heart to Siena at first 
sight, or if in spite of friction and disappointment 
she remained to the last his beloved city " dulcissima 
patria." 2 

The University of Siena, which ^Eneas now entered as a 
student, boasted honourable and ancient traditions. Since 
the year 1240 at any rate it had existed as a fully organised 
University, and the Republic had been at pains to strengthen 
its teaching staff by inviting professors from other Universi 
ties to occupy Chairs at Siena. 3 Nevertheless, it stood at 
this moment somewhat outside the main current of learning 
in Italy. When the spirit of humanism was alive and 
abroad, and men turned to classical literature as to the 
very fountain of life, Siena still clung to the traditions of 
the mediaeval curriculum. The Seven Liberal Arts were 
regarded as the gateway to the three great Sciences Law, 
Medicine, and Theology, and it was to the study of the 
first of these that the energies of the University were chiefly 
directed. Classical teachers there were, of course. ^Eneas, 
we are told, learned grammar from Antonio da Arezzo, and 
rhetoric from Mattia Lupi of S. Gemignano and Giovanni 
da Spoleto. 4 Yet none of these men were scholars of the 
first rank ; they were grammarians rather than humanists 
in the scope and method of their teaching. The spirit of 
humanism was, however, by no means absent from Siena. 
If the professed teachers of the classics were dull to the new 

1 Cf. Langton Douglas, op. cit., pp. 105-31, " Life in Old Siena " ; Hey- 
wood, Palio and Ponte, p. 65. 

2 Commentarii, lib. ii. p. 40. 

3 Cf. Douglas, op. cit., p. 117. Rashdall (Universities of Europe in the 
Middle Ages, vol. ii. p. 34) says of Siena, " The most remarkable feature 
of this University throughout its history is the closeness of its dependence 
upon the town." 

4 Cardinalis Papiensis Epistolae, Ep. 47. 



THE UNIVERSITY OF SIENA n 

learning, there were others in the University who had been 
profoundly influenced by it. Chief among these was the 
Professor of Jurisprudence, Mariano de Sozzini. Although 
a renowned jurist and the author of many weighty volumes 
on Civil and Canon Law, he had contrived in the intervals 
of his professional labours to steep himself in the literature 
of antiquity. He it was who first opened our hero s eyes 
to the great world of letters. Through Sozzini, ^Eneas 
learned something of what it meant to glory in the name of 
humanist. 

The Professor of Jurisprudence, with his versatile 
talents and his boundless enthusiasm, was pre-eminently 
fitted to be an inspirer of youth, ^neas, on his side, 
ardent, impressionable, unflagging in his energy, must have 
been an ideal pupil. He succumbed completely to Sozzini s 
spell, and has left a portrait of him in one of his letters which 
proclaims in every line the influence which the elder man 
exercised over the younger. " Nature," writes ^Eneas 
of Mariano Sozzini, 1 " denied him nothing but stature. 
He is a little man and should belong to my family, which 
has the surname of Piccolomini (parvorum hominum). He 
is a man of eloquence and is versed in both Civil and Canon 
Law ; he has a knowledge of universal history and is a skilful 
poet, composing songs in both Latin and Tuscan. He is as 
learned in philosophy as Plato, and in geometry as Boetius, 
while in arithmetic he may be compared with Macrobius. 
He is a stranger to no musical instrument, and knows 
almost as much of agriculture as Vergil. While the strength 
of youth remained in his limbs he was another Entellus ; 
master in the games, he could not be surpassed in running, 
jumping, or boxing. ... If the gods had bequeathed to 
him stature and immortality he would himself have been a 
god. Yet no mortal man is endowed with every gift, and I 
know no one who lacks fewer than he." To these manifold 
talents were added " the moral qualities which rule and 



Silvius to Kaspar Schlick, Vienna, 1444 (Wolkan, Der Brief - 
wechsel des Eneas Silvius Piccolomini, pt. i. vol. i. ep. 153). 



12 POPE PIUS II 

guide others." Sozzini was no mere scholar, but an active 
citizen, whose sound judgment, ready hospitality, and 
agreeable manners earned for him the esteem of his fellows. 
While I was in Siena," concludes his admiring pupil, 
" I loved him above all others, and separation has not 
diminished my affection." 

Humanism is an intangible expression, chiefly because 
its essence lies less in any new system of learning than in a 
new way of regarding life. The humanist aimed above all 
things at producing a fresh type of individual, and thus a 
description of character such as ^Eneas gives of his Univer- 
versity professor affords perhaps the best clue to the mean 
ing of humanism as a whole. The ideal of every true 
humanist was the complete citizen, an individual equipped 
in the fullest possible way to play his part in the world. 
Sozzini with his social gifts and his interest in public affairs 
stands in marked contrast to the unpractical bookworm, 
ignorant of the simplest matters of everyday life and 
" incapable of ruling either the commonwealth or the 
household." 1 Learning, to the humanist, is not an end in 
itself, it is a means of acquiring wisdom and judgment, 
and it must be viewed always in the light of its value in 
the world of action. Or, as yneas himself expressed it 
in later years, " The model of all good living is to be found 
in the study of Letters." 2 The practical aims of humanism 
naturally made expression a matter of first importance. 
Eloquentia, taken in its widest sense to include style, oratory, 
and every form of literary expression, must be cultivated 
at all costs, because without it learning is but a dead thing, 
incommunicable and ineffective. This attention to ex 
pression descends even to such minute details as the question 
of handwriting. " It is no credit to the great Alfonso," 
wrote ^Eneas of the ruler of Naples, " that his signature 
was most like the traces of a worm crawling over the 

1 Wolkan, Ep. 153. 

2 ^neas Silvius to Sigismund, Count of Tyrol, 5 Dec, 1443 (Wolkan, 
Ep. 99) : " Omnis bene vivendi norma litterarum studio continetur." 



THE UNIVERSITY OF SIENA 13 

paper." 1 With regard to Sozzini, he draws attention not 
only to his good literary style and conversational powers, 
but to the fact that " nothing could be clearer or more 
immaculate than the manuscripts written with his own 
hand." 2 Sozzini s athletic prowess, also, was in entire 
conformity with the humanist ideal. The complete citizen 
must aim at perfection of body as well as of mind, and such 
matters as bearing, gesture, dress, courtesy, no less than 
actual physical exercises, must find a place in his scheme of 
education. Above all, this new type of individual must 
possess the art of enjoying life. The mists of the Middle 
Ages had rolled away, and the great world had revealed 
itself, no longer as an evil to be shunned, but as a thing 
of wonder and beauty, to be enjoyed and understood to the 
uttermost. " The rediscovery of the world and the re 
discovery of man." This is what we understand by the 
Renaissance, and this is the secret which first unfolded 
itself to ^Eneas Silvius when he hung on the lips of Mariano 
Sozzini in Siena. 

If humanism was primarily a new point of view, there 
was nothing intangible or uncertain about the means of 
attaining it. The humanists were confident that their 
ideal had once been realised in the ancient world, and that 
the entrance into their heritage lay through the gateway of 
classical literature. In ^Eneas s case there was no intelli 
gent classical tutor to guide his reading, yet Sozzini had 
supplied the inspiration which set his feet in the right 
direction, and for the rest " he studied more under dead 
teachers than under living." Cicero, Vergil, Livy, " and 
other princes of the Latin tongue," themselves became his 
teachers. With a passion strong enough to overcome all 
obstacles, he set himself to acquire the distinguished educa 
tion which would admit him into the great freemasonry of 
learning. Niccold and Bartolomea Lolli had a son Gregorio 

1 De Liberorum Educatione (Opera, Basel, 1571, pp. 965-91). Cf. also 
Woodward, Vittorino da Feltre, etc. 
2 Wolkan, Ep. 153. 



14 POPE PIUS II 

or Goro as he was commonly called who was a fellow- 
student with ^Eneas at the University. In later years this 
Goro Lolli became a Papal secretary, and was one of the 
little circle of friends who attended Pius n on his death 
bed. Shortly afterwards he wrote a letter 1 to another of 
Pius ii s intimates Cardinal Jacopo Ammanati in which 
he gives his reminiscences of student-days in Siena when 
Jineas was living in his father s house and sharing, in all 
probability, his own room, ^neas s work, Goro tells us, 
was done chiefly at home, and here he would sit day and 
night poring over his books " with such diligence that he 
hardly allowed himself food or sleep." He made a practice 
of doing without supper three times a week for the sake of 
economy, and at other times he would be so intent on his 
studies that he forgot to eat. " In the morning he rose 
before daybreak, and he took his books with him when he 
went to bed, in order that the time between waking and sleep 
ing should not be lost to study." One night the tired 
student dropped asleep over his books, and awoke to find 
that the lamp by which he had been reading had set the 
bed-clothes on fire and that he was surrounded by smoke 
and flames. His cry of terror fortunately roused Goro and 
some other students who came to his rescue, and having 
extinguished the fire, they proceeded to indulge in much 
merriment at ^neas s expense. His poverty made it 
very difficult for him to get the books which he wanted, and 
he was reduced for the most part to borrowing from his 
friends. From these borrowed volumes he made copious 
extracts for future reference, " so that he might not cause 
too great inconvenience to the owners of the books." Such 
were the conditions under which ^Eneas Silvius followed 
the gleaming banner of humanism, and by sheer force of 
character he may be said to have succeeded in his quest. 
Of all the scholars of the early Renaissance none was more 
thoroughly imbued with the true spirit of humanism than 

1 Gregorio Lolli to the Cardinal of Pavia, Cardinalis Papiensis Epistolae, 
Ep. 47. 



THE UNIVERSITY OF SIENA 15 

this struggling, self-taught youth. Yet no amount of talent 
or perseverance could altogether make up for the lack of 
teaching, for the absence of anything approaching the per 
sistent individual instruction which great educators like 
Vittorino da Feltre gave to their pupils. ^Eneas, for all 
his true appreciation of Greek literature, never mastered 
the rudiments of the Greek language ; his natural gift 
of style notwithstanding, he was never able to write really 
good Latin. 

The University experiences of ^Eneas Silvius were by 
no means confined to the sphere of learning. Siena, 
according to her chronicler Sigismondo Tizio, was famed 
for " the affability and hospitality of her inhabitants, the 
beauty and allurement of her women, and the love which 
her populace hath ever borne for festivals and games." 1 
During eight years of vivid life .Eneas drank deep of the 
cup of pleasure. He shared in the wild games of Pugna 
and Pallone which were played on the Piazza del Campo. 
He joined with patriotic ardour in the great public festivals. 
Above all, he knew what it was to lie by the fountains 
on hot June evenings, and to bask in the smiles of the 
" pleasant ladies " who beguiled the hearts of the Uni 
versity students. Perhaps the most famous of ^Eneas s 
writings is his novel Eurialus et Lucretia, which tells of 
a love intrigue between a German knight and a Sienese 
lady at the time of the Emperor Sigismund s sojourn in the 
city. The events which formed the basis of his plot took 
place in 1432, more than a year after ^Eneas had left Siena. 
Yet the background of the romance is life in Siena as 
^Eneas himself knew it. From it we catch glimpses of 
that strange medley of gaiety and folly, innocent enjoy 
ment and unrestrained vice, high civilisation and primitive 
passion which was at once the fascination and the bane of 
Sienese society. The novel was written at the request of 
Mariano Sozzini, who, to judge from ^Eneas s dedicatory 

1 Tizio, Storm Senese, MS. in Biblioteca Comunale Siena. Quoted by 
Heywood, Polio and Ponte, p. 190. 



16 POPE PIUS II 

epistle, 1 initiated his pupil into the frivolous as well as into 
the studious aspect of University life. It treats of an 
incident which actually occurred in Siena, and the originals 
of the principal characters were known to many at the time 
the story was written. Eurialus was beyond doubt ^neas s 
future patron, the German Chancellor, Kaspar Schlick. 
No real clue exists with regard to the identity of Lucretia ; 
but a theory has been advanced which would make her none 
other than the wife of Mariano Sozzini, and Sozzini himself 
the duped husband of the story. If this were true, ^Eneas s 
response to the request for a love-story, and the tribute 
of praise which he paid to Sozzini in his letter to Kaspar 
Schlick, formed part of the same bitter jest. Yet it is 
difficult to believe that ^neas would play so scurvy a 
trick upon his old tutor, and as the theory rests upon 
the purest conjecture, we can afford to treat it with scant 
attention. 2 

The story itself is neither more original nor less in 
delicate than others of its kind. It tells of violent love, of 
secret notes, and of stolen interviews snatched under the 
very nose of the jealous husband. It ends in a tragic 
parting on the return of the Imperial Court to Germany. 
Lucretia is left to die of a broken heart, while Eurialus 
mourns her loss until he finds consolation in a marriage 
arranged for him by the Emperor. ^Eneas was only too 
familiar with the details of such intrigues. " What man 
of thirty," he asks, " has not ventured something in the 
cause of love ? I ground this conjecture upon myself, 
whom love has exposed to a thousand dangers ; but I 
thank the gods that I have escaped a thousand times from 

1 yEneas Silvius to Mariano Sozzini, Vienna, 3 July 1444 (Wolkan, 
Ep. 152). This letter contains the novel itself. Eurialus et Lucretia 
appears also in various editions of Pius n s works, and was translated into 
many languages. The earliest English version I have found is " The most 
excellent Historie of Euryalus and Lucresia. Translated from the Latin 
by W. Braunche. London, 1596." 

2 Zannoni, Per la storia di due amanti (Atti della R. Accademia 
dei Lincei, serie iv. vol. vi. pp. 116-27, Rome, 1890). Prof. Zannoni himself 
admits that his theory has no basis of proof. 



THE UNIVERSITY OF SIENA 17 

the toils laid for me." l In his University days the 
temptations to intrigue were rendered greater by the fact 
that the students reigned supreme in the fancies of the 
Sienese ladies. " Men of this class," he writes of the 
University students, " used to enjoy high favour with our 
women, but since Caesar s Court came to Siena they have 
been ridiculed, despised, and hated ; for our ladies find more 
delight in the clash of arms than in the refinement of 
letters." 2 Eurialus et Lucretia shows, moreover, how 
conducive was the whole atmosphere of Sienese society to 
the more dangerous forms of flirtation. Unmarried girls 
of the upper class were kept in the strictest seclusion, and 
wives were hardly less jealously guarded by their husbands. 
Yet with rigid rules went a low standard of morality, and 
at the same time there was a certain freedom and uncon- 
ventionality in social entertainments which gave endless 
opportunities for secret intercourse between the sexes. 
About a mile outside the city was a certain Chapel of the 
Blessed Virgin which the ladies of Siena were wont to 
visit. Here the young gallants would station themselves, 
and offer bouquets of flowers and other tokens to the 
objects of their admiration. The ladies would accept the 
gifts and bestow their smiles with so fine an impartiality 
that none could tell their real feelings. 3 Then, in the 
seclusion of their own chambers, they would examine the 
bouquet of the favoured lover and extract maybe a love- 
letter or a poem from the heart of a bunch of violets. In 
the winter the youth of the city made snowballing their 
favourite pastime. The ladies threw snowballs into the 
streets, and the students in return pelted the ladies at their 
windows. Even this innocent recreation could be turned 
to the purposes of intrigue, and a snowball be made the 
bearer of a message between secret lovers. With regard 

1 ^Eneas to Sozzini (Wolkan, Ep. 153, p. 354). 

2 Eurialus et Lucretia (Wolkan, Ep. 153, p. 378). 

3 Cf. Eurialus et Lucretia, p. 378 : " Ilia, sicut mos est nostris domi- 
nabus, omnes vultu blando intuebatur. Ars est sive deceptio potius, 
ne verus amor palam fiat." 

2 



i8 POPE PIUS II 

to ^Eneas himself, he won his earliest literary reputation 
as the writer of somewhat coarse love-poems. Tradition 
says that the object of his devotion in Siena was a certain 
Angela, the wife of Francesco Acherisi. 1 She, however, 
despised him on account of his poverty, and made mock 
of his shabby clothes. " Let readers learn wisdom from the 
ills of others, and strive to avoid drinking of the potions of 
love, seeing that they contain far more gall than honey." 2 
Such is the moral of Eurialus et Lucretia, and ^Eneas, it 
seems, could testify to its truth from personal experience. 
Love-making apart, there is nothing in ^Eneas s writings 
to show what share he had in the pastimes of his fellow- 
students. He certainly did not distinguish himself as an 
athlete, and was probably never robust enough to appreci 
ate such violent forms of recreation as the Giuoco della 
Pugna (Game of Fisticuffs), so graphically described by a 
contemporary novelist. The game was extremely popular 
with the University students, yet Gentile Sermini, who had 
played it in his youth, cannot help admitting that " the on 
lookers have three parts of the fun ; the players get the 
rest, and have in addition their bruised sides and heads, 
and their dislocated and broken bones, hands, arms, ribs 
and jaws." 3 Poverty alone would have prevented ^Eneas 
from competing in the famous races for the Palio. Yet his 
treatise on the Nature and Care of Horses * proves that he 
took an interest in horse-flesh, and these races were so 
bound up with the public life of Siena that no patriotic 
citizen could stand aloof from them. 5 The most important 
races for the Palio took place on the Festival of the 

1 Lesca, p. 48. Cf. Cugnoni, p. 342. 

2 Eurialus et Lucretia, op. cit., p. 393. 

3 Sermini, Le Novelle, " II Giuoco della Pugna " (Raccolta di Novellieri 
Italiani, Parte Seconda, Firenze, 1833). 

4 Printed for the first time by Wolkan (Ep. 154, p. 395). 

5 The Palio was the piece of silk, velvet, or other material given as 
the prize for horse-races in Italy ; in course of time the word came to 
be used not only for the prize but for the race itself. For a full account 
of the Palio and other pastimes of Italy, cf. Mr. Hey wood s delightful 
book, Palio and Ponte. 



THE UNIVERSITY OF SIENA 19 

Assumption (15 August), a day which ^Eneas had looked 
upon from earliest childhood as the greatest in the whole 
year. It was not only a great religious festival, but also 
the chief civic holiday, a perpetual memorial of Siena s 
triumphant victory over the Florentines at Montaperto 
(1260). In the hour of despair before the battle the Sienese 
had turned for help to the Blessed Virgin, and with the full 
ritual of feudalism had recognised her as their liege Lady. 
That same night the Florentine sentries " beheld as it 
were a mantle most white which covered all the camp of 
the Sienese and the city of Siena." 1 It was the mantle 
of Siena s blessed suzerain, who was to prove in the morrow s 
battle the worth of her protecting care. From that day 
forward Siena adopted the title of Civitas Virginis, the great 
bell of the Mangia Tower began its summons to the magis 
trates of the Republic by " three distinct and separate 
strokes in memory of the Angelic Salutation," 2 and the 
Festival of the Assumption became the crown of the city s 
festivities. 3 

Early in August each year the streets of Siena began to 
throng with strangers who had come to take part in the 
approaching fair. On the morning of the I4th the cere 
monies opened with a solemn procession of the chief magis 
trates to the Duomo, where each in turn made an offering 
of a wax candle for the benefit of the Cathedral Works. 
This was an obligation incumbent on every citizen of 
Siena on the Vigil of the Assumption, the weight of each 
man s candle being apportioned according to the amount 
of his taxable property. Thus processions of citizens from 
the various parishes continued throughout the day, and 
on the morrow came representatives of the subject towns 
and other feudatories bringing such offerings of candles and 
money as were required of them by the terms of their sub 
mission to the Republic. It was a proud day for any citizen 

1 Polio and Ponte, p. 34. ~ Ibid., p. 38. 

3 I am largely indebted to Mr. Hey wood s description of the " Festival 
of Our Lady of August," given in Palio and Ponte, pp. 55-67. 



20 POPE PIUS II 

of Siena when he saw Counts of Santa Flora, Lords of 
Campiglia, and members of many another ancient house, 
coming to render obedience to the free commonwealth. 
Yet if, like ^Eneas, he belonged to the despised Monte del 
Gentiluomini, pride must have been mingled with humilia 
tion. Not only were the nobles excluded from all real 
power, but some, and maybe the Piccolomini among them, 
were excused on account of their abject poverty from con 
tributing to the pile of candles accumulating in the Duomo. 
After these ceremonies came the contest for the Palio, and 
the remainder of the day was given over to feasting and 
dancing. At nightfall all the city was illuminated and 
bonfires blazed on the surrounding hills, none more con 
spicuous than that which shone on the old house at 
Corsignano as it leapt from the summit of Monte Amiata. 

Suddenly, amidst this gay, careless life, a stern voice 
sounded. The City of the Virgin seemed to have become 
something more nearly resembling the City of Venus, when 
she was recalled to her better self by the preaching of S. 
Bernardino. It was in May 1425 that S. Bernardino 
first preached in Siena. An altar and pulpit were erected 
on the Piazza del Campo, and among the crowds of men and 
women of every rank who flocked thither to hear him was 
the young student, ^Eneas Silvius. The saint, like ^Eneas 
himself, came of a noble Sienese family. He too had been 
a student of the University, and had received his friar s 
habit in the Church of S. Francesco at Siena. Thus his 
antecedents alone were sufficient to attract ^Eneas towards 
S. Bernardino, and once having been drawn to him he 
fell completely beneath his spell. " He was most eloquent 
in speech," writes ^Eneas of the great revivalist preacher, 
" and could move men to tears in a wonderful way ; he so 
denounced vices that he made every one feel a horror of 
them, and he so praised virtues that he made all love 
them. . . . And because his life was holy and without 
blemish, because he lived in poverty, going about with 
bare feet, clad only in his woollen tunic ; and because he 



THE UNIVERSITY OF SIENA 21 

persevered in fasts and prayers, he drew the people mar 
vellously." * 

All Siena responded to S. Bernardino s appeal. The 
women brought their ornaments and cosmetics, their 
false hair and fine clothes to swell the pyres of " vanities " 
which were kindled on the Piazza. Party symbols and 
badges were torn down, and in their place appeared " the 
Holy Name of Jesus painted on a picture," 2 surrounded 
by the sun s golden rays. ^Eneas himself was so much 
moved by the saint s words that he seriously contemplated 
entering the Franciscan Order, and was only turned from 
his purpose by the entreaties of his friends. A few years 
later, when S. Bernardino had left Siena for Rome, ^Eneas 
was troubled by a saying of one of his disciples, to the effect 
that a man was bound to accomplish any good deed that he 
had once willed to do. In his distress of mind ^Eneas 
trudged all the way to Rome to consult S. Bernardino, who 
with characteristic good sense told him that his scruples 
were groundless, and that his transient aspiration placed 
him under no necessity of becoming a friar against his 
better judgment. 3 

^Eneas was entirely unsuited for the religious life, yet 
he had much real religious feeling. He was also quick to 
recognise genuine goodness, and S. Bernardino s life of 
self-sacrifice appealed at once to all that was noblest in his 
nature. Perhaps the three men for whom he showed the 
most abiding admiration were S. Bernardino, the prophet 
of his student-days; Cesarini, the hero of the Council of 
Basel, who died a martyr s death on the battlefield of 
Varna ; and the austere and saintly Cardinal Carvajal, who 
spent his life in the championship of the cause of Christen 
dom against the Turk. If any one characteristic distin 
guished all three men alike, it was their singleness of 
purpose a virtue which ^Eneas, whose sincerity has been 



Silvius, De Viris JEtate sua Claris (printed in Mansi, Pii 
Secundi Orationes, vol. iii. p. 172). 

2 De Viris, p. 173. 3 Ibid., pp. 174-5. 



22 POPE PIUS II 

so often doubted, prized above others. S. Bernardino s 
influence, however, was literary as well as spiritual. He 
was a born story-teller, whose rich humour and native 
gift of oratory delighted ^neas s artistic sense. Some of 
our hero s earliest lessons in the art of public speaking 
were learned at the feet of the preaching friar, and the name 
of S. Bernardino must be joined with that of Sozzini 
among the strongest factors in the intellectual development 
of ^Eneas Silvius. 

Did ^Eneas owe any part of his education to the greatest 
scholar of his day, Francesco Filelfo ? The question is 
wrapped in obscurity, and the entire disregard for truth 
which distinguishes humanist controversy makes the 
problem peculiarly hard to solve. On the one hand 
Filelfo, writing a year after Pius n s death, 1 tries to give the 
impression that the deceased Pope owed everything to 
him, and that he had been guilty of the basest ingratitude 
towards his old master. He describes ^Eneas coming to 
Florence as a poor scholar, and says that he was so greatly 
impressed by the young man s ability and charm that 
he received him into his own house. He subsequently 
found him a post with a rich Sicilian noble, in whose service 
^Eneas received 40 ducats a year, and was thus able to 
attend Filelfo s private classes as well as his public lectures. 
Finally, Filelfo asserts, ^Eneas went to Milan with intro 
ductions from him, entered the service of the Bishop of 
Novara, and so passed in the Bishop s train to his future 
career at the Council of Basel. Goro Lolli, on the other 
hand, meets Filelfo s whole story with a blank denial. 2 
jEneas never was Filelfo s pupil, and he did not even visit 
Florence until his student-days were over. Thus it was 
useless to talk of ingratitude, and, for his part, he main 
tained that death was Pius n s sole crime from Filelfo s 
point of view. He had sung the Pope s praises so long as 

1 Francisci Philelfi Epistolae, lib. ii. ep. 26, To Leodrisio Crivelli 
(Venet. 1502). 

3 Cardinalis Papiensis Epistolae, Ep. 47. 



THE UNIVERSITY OF SIENA 23 

there was hope of gain from him, and only since his decease 
had he begun to abuse him. There are obvious misstate- 
ments in Filelfo s story. ^Eneas, to take but one instance, 
did not go to Basel from Milan with the Bishop of Novara, 
but from Siena with Cardinal Capranica. Yet it seems 
impossible to accept Lolli s version in view of Filelfo s 
letter of recommendation written in 1431, before the days 
of controversy, and which Rosmini regards as an incon 
trovertible proof that ^Eneas was at one time Filelfo s 
pupil. 1 " The bearer of my letter," writes Filelfo to his 
friend Niccolo Arcimboldi in Milan, " is a Sienese youth, 
^Eneas Silvius by name, of good family and most dear to 
me, not only because he has been my pupil for two years, 
but also because of his keen intelligence and grace of 
expression. His manners are polished and refined. He is 
moved by a desire to see Milan, and I commend him to 
you with the utmost goodwill. Whatever you can do for 
him in the way of service or aid, I shall regard as done to 
myself." 2 Even here we cannot accept Filelfo s account 
without reservation. Apart from certain difficulties in the 
reconciliation of dates, and from the absence of all mention 
of the fact in ^Eneas s writings, it is hard to believe that 
he could have studied for two years under the chief Greek 
scholar of the day without learning the rudiments of the 
language. Perhaps the solution of the problem lies in the 
supposition that /Eneas concluded his University career by 
a wandering tour to other centres of learning in Italy, 
visiting Florence among the rest. He would thus have 
made the acquaintance of Filelfo, Poggio, Bruni, and other 
Florentine scholars, while it would be quite in accordance 
with humanist tradition that Filelfo should give introduc 
tions to a promising young student who had attended some 
of his lectures without being in any real sense his pupil. 
The theory finds support in a letter from ^Eneas to 
Giovanni Aurispa, dating from the latter part of 1431, in 

1 Rosmini, Vita di Francesco Filelfo, vol. ii. pp. 104-9 (Milano, 1808). 
z Francisci Philelfi Epistolae, lib. ii. ep. 8, op. cit. 



24 POPE PIUS II 

which he thanks the great man for the kindness which he 
showed him during a short sojourn at Ferrara on his way 
from Padua to Siena. " I found in you so much courtesy," 
runs the letter, " so much charity and kindliness, even in 
the smallest matters, that I do not think anyone could be 
kinder or more gracious ; and you were willing to number 
me also among your friends." * ^Eneas s relations with 
Filelfo may well have been of the same transient nature, 
and the tour which ended at Padua and Ferrara may have 
begun at Florence and Milan. 

At this period ^Eneas was engaged nominally in legal 
studies. A fellow- student, one Aliotti, gives his recollec 
tions of him at Siena between 1425 and 1430, when ^Eneas 
was reputed the ablest of the students in Civil Law, and had 
already begun to lecture on the subject. 2 Yet the more he 
came in contact with them, the greater was his antipathy 
both for law and lawyers. All time seemed wasted that was 
spent apart from his beloved "poets and orators." His 
period of wandering, with the glimpse that it afforded him 
of the great world of letters, only increased his restlessness. 
The spirit of the Renaissance was hot within his veins, and 
the prospect of spending the remainder of his existence as a 
petty notary, or at best as a lecturer on Jurisprudence, at 
Siena, grew well-nigh intolerable. Nevertheless, the time 
had come when he must settle down to a professional 
career. His relations were already impatient at the delay, 
and no way of escape seemed open to him. At this critical 
moment there passed through Siena, Cardinal Domenico 
Capranica, Bishop of Fermo, on his way to the Council of 
Basel. He was in need of a secretary, and offered to 
take the brilliant young scholar into his service. To 
jEneas the opportunity seemed heaven-sent. Instead of 
work which he hated, here was work that gave scope for 
the exercise of those gifts of style and oratory which he had 
already proved himself to possess. New surroundings and 



Silvius to Giovanni Aurispa (Wolkan, Ep. 2). 
2 Aliotti, Ep. et Opusc., vol. ii. p. 349. Cf. Lesca, p. 49. 



THE UNIVERSITY OF SIENA 25 

fresh experiences would take the place of the familiar 
round of life in Siena. He would exchange an assured 
livelihood, and little prospect beyond it, for adventure, 
insecurity, and boundless possibilities. For a man of 
^Eneas s age and disposition there could be no hesitation 
as to his choice. One day in the winter of 1431-2 he 
rode out of Siena in the train of Cardinal Capranica, intent 
upon the conquest of the unknown future which awaited 
him beyond the blue hills of the Sienese contado. 



CHAPTER II 
TRAVELS AND SECRETARYSHIPS 

THE departure of .ZEneas Silvius for the Council 
of Basel has been immortalised in one of Pinto- 
ricchio s most charming frescoes in the Piccolo- 
mini Library at Siena. Amid a gay and richly apparelled 
company he rides towards the seashore. The Cardinal s 
red robes and the bright trappings of the horses glow in the 
sunlight. The way is strewn with a veritable carpet of 
spring flowers. ^Eneas himself is mounted on a prancing 
white charger, and he turns with light-hearted unconcern 
to cast a farewell glance over his native land. Behind him, 
however, the sea is troubled, and a black storm darkens 
the horizon, warning the travellers who are about to 
embark upon the waiting vessels that there is rough weather 
in store for them. The symbolism of the fresco leaves 
little to be desired. In the springtime of life, full of hope 
and enthusiasm, ^Eneas set out upon his career. Fortune 
had provided him with an opportunity, and in his joy at 
this sign of her favour, he was blind to the dangers and 
difficulties which would inevitably beset his path. " A 
wise God conceals the future in dark night," x he wrote on 
a later occasion. If he had realised the endless vicissitudes 
through which he must pass before he could achieve, not 
greatness, but the merest security, perhaps even his 
adventurous spirit would have faltered. 

The actual circumstances of ^Eneas s departure were 
doubtless less picturesque, yet the tempest of Pintoricchio s 

1 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 7. 
26 




AENEAS SILVIUS SETS OUT FOR THE COUNCIL OF KASEL 

FRESCO BY I INTORICCHIO 
Piccolomini Library, Siena 



TRAVELS AND SECRETARYSHIPS 27 

fresco is a truthful representation of the storms, both 
physical and political, to which he was exposed at the very 
outset of his career. Two main facts coloured his intro 
duction to the world of politics. In the first place, his 
new master, Cardinal Capranica, had been involved in the 
recent rising of the Colonna against Eugenius iv, and his 
departure from Italy was practically a flight before the 
Pope s vengeance. Secondly, the Council of Basel, whither 
he was proceeding, was sitting in defiance of Papal authority, 
having been dissolved by Eugenius in the autumn of 1431, 
just four months after its formal opening. Under these 
circumstances Capranica s chief object was to get out of the 
country as quickly and as inconspicuously as possible. He 
resolved to proceed straight to the coast at Piombino, and 
from thence to take ship to Genoa. By so doing he would 
avoid passing through Florentine territory at a time when 
a war between Florence and Siena rendered travelling diffi 
cult ; and, once in Genoa, he could rely upon the protection 
of her overlord, Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan, a 
friend to all enemies of the Pope. When the party reached 
the coast they found an obstacle in their path in the shape 
of Jacopo Appiano, Lord of Piombino, who thought it 
politic to prevent Capranica s departure. " Although he 
feigned friendship," writes ZEneas, "he forbade Domenico 
to take ship." l Yet with the vessel which was to carry 
him to Genoa waiting out at sea before his eyes, Capranica 
determined to persevere. Making his way secretly down to 
the shore, he embarked in a small boat with a single com 
panion and was conveyed to his own ship in safety. " Once 
this was known, the rest of Domenico s suite was allowed to 
depart, the lord of the town thinking it useless to pursue 
the feathers when the body of his prey had escaped him." 2 
^Eneas and his companions, however, spent a night out 
of doors on the island of Elba, in bitter cold, before they 
were able to rejoin Capranica. The next day the reunited 
household set sail for Genoa. 

1 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 3. 2 Loc. cit. 



28 POPE PIUS II 

Even then the adventures of the journey were not 
over. A severe storm arose which drove the vessel far out 
of its course, " round Corsica and a part of Sardinia," x 
and after a night of tossing on the high seas the captain 
made his way back through the Straits of Bonifacio to 
seek shelter in the harbour of Porto Venere. This un 
pleasant experience gave ^Eneas a distaste for the sea which 
never left him. It also found him a lifelong friend in the 
person of one of his fellow-secretaries, Piero da Noceto, 
who shared the perils of the voyage, and became henceforth 
his closest companion. The episode appears to have made 
a deep impression on ^Eneas, and time helped to magnify 
its importance. In the Commentaries we read that the 
travellers " were driven by furious storms in sight of the 
Lybian coast, the sailors fearing greatly lest they should 
land at some barbarian port ; although it is marvellous 
to relate and almost incredible to hear that a voyage 
of a day and a night from Italy . . . should have taken 
them to Africa, it is nevertheless true." 2 The Com 
mentaries were written some thirty years after the events 
here described, and a comparison between them and the 
account of his journey which ^Eneas wrote to the Podesta 
of Piombino directly he reached Genoa shows that the story 
grew with the telling. 3 This letter contains no mention 
of Africa, and the perils of the voyage sink into insigni 
ficance beside the splendours of the reception which awaited 
the travellers. 

At Porto Venere they found an armed galley sent by 
the Duke of Milan to escort Capranica to Genoa. The 
ducal Commissary and a goodly company of citizens 
were on board, and on the Cardinal s approach there was 
a great sounding of trumpets and other musical instru 
ments to do him honour. "The shouts of the sailors 

1 .ZEneas Silvius to Tommaso della Gazzaia, Podesta of Piombino, 
Genoa, 28 Feb. 1432 (printed for the first time by Wolkan, Ep. 4). 

2 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 3. 

3 Cf. above, Wolkan, Ep. 4. 



TRAVELS AND SECRETARYSHIPS 29 

resounded to heaven," l wrote ^Eneas, who was sharing for 
the first time in the incidents of greatness. After three 
days delay, on account of bad weather, the galley rode 
into the harbour at Genoa, where Capranica was met by 
the Governor and escorted to the sumptuous lodgings 
prepared for his reception. Here the chief citizens came to 
pay their respects, bringing with them such quantities of 
" sweet wines, grain, and spices of every kind that fifty 
men could hardly carry the whole amount." 2 To one 
reared in the comparative simplicity of Tuscan society 
Genoa rich, luxurious, Eastern in her magnificence, and 
cosmopolitan in her atmosphere seemed a veritable city 
of enchantment. " I wish you were with me now, for you 
would see a town that has not its like in the whole world." 3 
These are the opening words of a description of Genoa sent 
by jEneas to a Sienese friend. It forms the first of a long 
series of sketches containing his impressions of persons and 
places, and embodying all that is best and most character 
istic in his literary work. 

Naturally, ^Eneas s attention is first arrested by Genoa 
as a great mercantile port. He dwells in amazement on 
the splendid harbour, crowded with ships, and on the 
constant coming and going of trading craft. " Every day 
you may see different races of men, with strange and un 
civilised manners, and merchants arriving with every kind 
of wares." 4 The Genoese are a seafaring race, and there 
is no hardship or peril that they will not endure in pursuit 
of their calling. Yet they are too much occupied with 
buying and selling to care greatly for learning. For the 
rest, they are " honest people, with long bodies, and grave 
demeanour, who both seem and are proud." 5 The private 
life of the citizens, in contrast to their arduous profession, 
is luxurious and even voluptuous. They fall into no error 

1 Wolkan, Ep. 4. z Loc. cit. 

3 ^Eneas Silvius to Andreozio Pctrucci, Milan, 24 March 1432 (printed 
for the first time by Wolkan, Ep. 6). 

4 Wolkan, Ep. 6, p. 7. 6 Wolkan.. Ep. 6, p. 8. 



30 POPE PIUS II 

who call Genoa a women s Paradise." l Women of all 
classes enjoy extraordinary freedom. " They wear 
sumptuous clothes, and are loaded with gold, silver, and 
precious stones. . . . There is no need for them to ply 
the needle or the distaff, for every household has numerous 
female slaves who have charge of the cooking and sewing." 2 
^Eneas had even heard of a lady, by no means of the highest 
rank, who, when asked by her son-in-law what she was 
providing for dinner, replied that she had not entered her 
kitchen for seven years. In the absence of domestic duties 
the women gave themselves up to dressing and love-making, 
and a close observer of Genoese society would soon perceive 
that the basis of the whole fabric was the latter art. In 
short, " if Venus lived in these days she would no longer 
inhabit Cyprus ... or the groves of Idalium, but would 
dwell in Genoa." 3 As regards outward appearance, ^Eneas 
considered Genoa " as far superior to Florence as Florence 
is to Arezzo." " O most fortunate city ! " he says in con 
clusion. " One thing alone is lacking to her, and that is 
concord among her citizens ; but so great is the dissension 
among men that they seem to watch for opportunities of 
conspiring against, killing, and injuring one another. All 
have the same object, namely, to hurt, to slay, to plunder, 
and to drive into exile." 4 

^Eneas was obviously enjoying his first taste of the great 
world, and he dwelt joyfully on the thought that a still 
more magnificent reception was being prepared for his 
master in Milan. Yet other letters show that pleasure was 
mingled with a good deal of home-sickness. " When we 
were together," he wrote to a University friend, " no day 
was allowed to pass without intercourse between us ; either 
I sought you out or you came to find me, so that I seemed 
to be living with you more than with all the others. Now 
your letters perform the function that was once yours, . . . 
from them I derive such consolation as falls to my lot. 

1 Wolkan, Ep. 6, p. 8. 2 Wolkan, Ep. 6, p. 9. 

3 Loc. cit. 4 Wolkan, Ep. 6, p. 10. 



TRAVELS AND SECRETARYSHIPS 31 

The gods are my witness that when I read them I cannot 
restrain my tears. I weep and weep again. Where/ I 
cry, is my sweetest friend ? I know too well that I am 
parted from him, I know not when I shall see him again." 
Most especially is he grieved to hear how much his father 
misses him. Giorgio must regard himself as Silvio s adopted 
son, so that the old man may gain a comforter, and ^Eneas 
a brother. " Farewell," he concludes, " and again fare 
well. Greet, I pray you, all our mutual friends, and when 
you meet my father console him as much as you can." l 
This letter formed ^Eneas s farewell to Italy, being written 
in Milan on the eve of his departure. A few days later 
the Cardinal and his household set out over " the Alps 
that are called S. Gothard, fast bound in ice and snow," 2 
and after traversing " steep mountains reaching almost to 
heaven," they came at last to Basel. 

^Eneas entered Basel in the spring of 1432, but it was 
not until four years later that he began to take active 
part in the proceedings of the Council. During the period 
that intervened he was engaged in seeing life, under diverse 
aspects and amid varying scenes. He served at least four 
different masters, and thus gained considerable experience 
of a secretary s post in the household of a great ecclesiastic. 
In this capacity, moreover, he travelled over the greater 
part of Europe, crossing the Alps in his journeys to and 
from Italy by the S. Gothard, the S. Bernard, and the 
Simplon passes, going from Basel to Cologne by way of the 
Rhine, visiting the rich trading cities of the Low Countries, 
and penetrating even to the British Isles. Wherever he 
went eyes and ears were on the alert, and these early 
impressions did much to furnish material for the great 
historical and geographical works which are among his 
chief titles to fame. More than this, the four years of 
wandering gave ^neas just that varied knowledge of men 

1 /Eneas Silvius to Giorgio Andrcnzio, Milan, March 1432 (Wolkan, 
Ep. 7; Opera (Basel, 1571), Ep. 33, and elsewhere). 

2 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 3. 



32 POPE PIUS II 

and things which he needed in order to give expression to 
his natural gifts. As an Italian, he belonged to the nation 
of explorers, to those early seekers after knowledge who 
prepared the way for the great discoveries of a later genera 
tion. As a humanist, the history and manners of the 
European nations were interesting to him in a way that 
they had never been to the medievalist. Above all, a 
keen sense of beauty, exceptional powers of observation, 
and an instinct for self-expression which impelled him to 
commit his ideas to writing, enabled him to turn all that he 
saw and heard to the very best advantage. " Thousands," 
it has been said, " saw what he did, but they felt no im 
pulse to make a picture of it, and were unconscious that the 
world desired such pictures." l Those who are anxious 
for a personally conducted tour round Europe in the early 
fifteenth century cannot do better than to take him as 
their guide, and to follow him as he passes from city to city, 
full of interest, full of appreciation, bringing his quick 
sympathy and vivid imagination to bear upon everything 
that crosses his path. 

Capranica received a warm welcome from the Fathers 
at Basel, and his claim to rank as a Cardinal, which the 
Pope had refused to acknowledge, was at once recognised 
by the Council. Eugenius iv, meanwhile, retained pos 
session of Capranica s benefices and also of his private 
inheritance, and the Council which had so gladly reinstated 
him in his position could do nothing to help him recover 
his property. Thus the unfortunate Cardinal found him 
self in great pecuniary straits. " The needy Domenico 
was not able to support the needy ^Eneas," 2 and our 
hero had perforce to seek a new master. Not long after, 
Capranica left Basel and made his peace with Eugenius iv. 
He had done his part by ^Eneas in launching him upon the 
world, and, in his lifetime, he hardly crossed his path again. 
In 1458, however, popular opinion regarded him as the 

1 Burckhardt, Die Cultur der Renaissance in Italien. 

2 Cardinalis Papiensis Epistolas, Ep. 47, p. 495. 



TRAVELS AND SECRETARYSHIPS 33 

future Pope, and his death on 14 August removed the most 
formidable obstacle to Pius n s election. 

^neas next took service under Nicodemo della Scala, 
Bishop of Freisingen, who gave him his first glimpse of 
German politics by taking him to the Diet of Frankfort. 
In later years he must have said to himself that this pre 
liminary experience had been eminently characteristic, 
for the proceedings of the Diet were rendered abortive by 
the absence of the Emperor. Shortly after their return to 
Basel, Nicodemo withdrew from the Council, and ^Eneas 
was left without employment. It was probably at this 
time that he conceived the idea of writing a History of the 
Council, being led to his decision by the reasons so naively 
expressed in his letter to Cardinal Giuliano Cesarini. 
" Nothing," he considered, " could be worse for a man than 
to lead a life of ease and idleness," l and nothing could be 
more foreign to his own habit, as he had always been accus 
tomed to spend his time in reading and writing. Thus it 
was a weariness to him to spend the long days at Basel in 
idleness, and he did not care to gossip about the doings of 
the Council with people who took no real interest in ecclesi 
astical affairs. He resolved, therefore, to set to work upon 
a History, lest he should become " like the beasts, given 
over to food and sleep." " I confess," he writes, " that it 
would be better and more becoming in me to turn over and 
study the volumes of those who wrote in past ages than to 
attempt original work. Yet I have sufficient excuse in that 
I possess no books." In recording the deeds of the Council 
as they come to his knowledge he will be exercising such 
little talent as he possesses, so that when the time comes 
for him to write something more important, wisdom and 
facility of expression will be his. " Both these things," he 
observes, " are acquired by practice, although it is true that 
wisdom is given to many by nature." There follows a 

1 ;neas Silvius to Giuliano Cesarini (Wolkan, Ep. 16). Dated by 
Wolkan, Milan, July 1434. The letter is also printed by Urstisius, 
Epitome Historiae Basiliensis, 

3 



34 POPE PIUS II 

graphic description of Basel and its inhabitants, which was 
intended to serve as an introduction to his History, so that 
all might know " in what place and among what people 
those things were done that I propose to record." 

The situation of Basel made it peculiarly suitable in 
our hero s eyes for the seat of a General Council. Almost 
equidistant from Spain and Hungary, from Denmark and 
Sicily, it might be considered the centre of Christendom. 1 
It lay, moreover, on that great highway of Europe, the 
Rhine, which divided the city into two parts. A fine 
wooden bridge gave access from one part to the other, but 
in spring, when the stream was swollen by the melting 
snows of the Alps, the bridge was often destroyed, and 
Basel became two separate cities. To Tuscan-bred ^Eneas, 
the three most noticeable features of Basel were the extreme 
cold, the comfort and prosperity which reigned every 
where, and the excellence of the municipal government. 
In winter, when snow lay thick on the ground, the blast 
of the north wind seemed freezing, but within doors all was 
warmth and comfort. The principal houses had fine halls 
resembling Roman baths, where the citizens entertained 
one another at dinner, and where caged singing-birds and 
sparkling fountains charmed the senses. The tables were 
laden with silver ; the furniture was of the richest. In 
short, although built for convenience rather than for 
outward show, the houses of Basel could vie with the best 
in Florence as regards interior equipment. The fortifica 
tions of the city seemed to ^Eneas inadequate, and alto 
gether unfitted to withstand the sieges and street-fights of 
Italy. Yet in this more fortunate country " the strength 
of the city lay in concord of souls." 2 In Basel there was 
no struggle between nobles and people ; no voice was 
raised against the government ; no factions divided the 
ruling class ; all were prepared to defend their liberties, if 

1 ^Eneas Silvius to Philippe de Coetquis, Archbishop of Tours, Basel, 
28 Oct. 1438 (a later version of his letter to Cesarini), Wolkan, Ep. 28, 

2 Wolkan, Ep. 16, 






TRAVELS AND SECRETARYSHIPS 35 

need be, with their lives. So strong and sure was justice 
that " those exiled from the city in perpetuity had no hope 
of return," and if anyone deserved punishment, " neither 
money nor prayers would avail him, nor even a multitude 
of friends and relations, nor high position in the city." 
Although reluctant to lay bare the weaknesses of his own 
country, /Eneas could not refrain from drawing the all too 
obvious contrast. " There the few seek to rule, and all 
are forced to obey ; those who spurn the authority of 
King or Emperor are subject to the lowest of the people. 
There no dominion is lasting, and nowhere does fortune 
jest as in Italy." l With regard to the inhabitants of 
Basel, they preferred for the most part "to be men of sub 
stance rather than to seem so." 2 They dressed soberly, 
were contented with their lot, and kept their promises. 
Their standard of culture was low. Grammar and 
dialectic were studied, but poetry was despised, and the 
name of Cicero was not so much as heard. Religion was 
held in high honour, the churches being frequented daily, 
and not only on festivals. /Eneas s quick eye at once 
noticed the high wooden pews which filled the churches, 
each matron shutting herself in her own pew with her 
maid-servants " like bees in a hive." This peculiar 
custom he attributed rather to " the rigour of winter " 
than to reasons of prudery. His interest was also awakened 
by the annual tax due from every family to the Bishop, 
a relic, he considered, of the day when Basel was subject 
to episcopal government. 

Before /Eneas had time to write much of his History he 
found employment once more, as secretary to Bartolomeo 
Visconti, Bishop of Novara. The Bishop had come to 
Basel as the confidential agent of the Duke of Milan, his 
chief task being to stir up trouble for Eugenius iv at the 
Council, while Filippo Maria himself waged war upon the 
Pope in Italy. The successful negotiation of this joint 

1 Wolkan, Ep. 28. 

8 Wolkan, Ep. 16 : " viri boni esse potius quam videri malunt." 



36 POPE PIUS II 

campaign needed frequent intercourse between its directors, 
and thus it came about that the close of the year 1433 saw 
^Eneas back in Italy. 1 He spent some time at the Court of 
Milan, and gained an insight into the character of " that 
great and famous Duke, Filippo Maria." " Filippo was 
full of suspicion/ wrote ^Eneas, " and hardly trusted even 
himself. He would often search the hangings of his palace 
walls, thinking that assassins were hidden there, and at 
times he was terrified by his own shadow. He fled the 
sight of man, but was nevertheless great, and renowned for 
his liberality and magnificence." 2 To our hero this visit 
was chiefly remarkable for the part which he played in the 
appointment of the Rector of the University of Pavia. Of 
the two rival candidates, one was a certain Luigi Crotti, a 
Milanese of high birth and powerful connections, the other 
was an obscure citizen of Novara. ^Eneas espoused the 
cause of the latter, and spoke with so much eloquence that 
he snatched the prize from Crotti s grasp, and saw his 
candidate installed as Rector. 3 

Meanwhile, Filippo Maria s captains besieged Rome, 
calling themselves " Generals of the Holy Council." In 
1434 they contrived to stir up rebellion within the city, 
and Eugenius was forced to fly to Florence. Not content 
with having humbled his enemy thus far, the Duke of 
Milan now designed to obtain possession of the Pope s 
person. The Bishop of Novara was sent to Florence to 
arrange the details of the conspiracy, and all was in order 
when the plot was discovered. It seemed likely that the 
Bishop s life would be forfeit, " and the shepherd being 
smitten, the sheep were scattered." 4 ^Eneas and his terri 
fied companions fled for protection to the nearest church, 

1 He travelled from Basel to Milan and back more than once at this 
period. On 17 Nov. 1433 he writes from Milan that he hopes soon to 
be in Basel, and on i July 1434 from the same place that he has just 
arrived from the seat of the Council (Wolkan, Ep. 14 and Ep. 15). 

2 Fea, Pius II a calumniis vindicatus, p. 40. 

3 Commentani, lib. i. p. 3. 

4 Mansi, Pius II Orationes, vol. iii., De Viris JEtate sw clans, p. 148, 



TRAVELS AND SECRETARYSHIPS 37 

fearing every moment that they might be dragged away to 
prison and torture. Our hero is careful to mention that 
his master had kept him in ignorance of the whole matter, 
" not wishing to consult a Tuscan about a Tuscan affair." l 
Yet, in another place, 2 he tells us that he was able to visit 
his relations at this time, through being sent on a mission 
to Niccolo Piccinino, who was taking baths at Siena. It is 
difficult to believe that his business with the principal 
soldier in the employ of Milan had not some connection 
with the Florentine conspiracy. Whatever was the 
extent of his complicity, ^Eneas was placed in a most 
unenviable predicament. Fortunately for his future career, 
a helping hand was stretched out to him by his friend 
Piero da Noceto. After the break-up of Capranica s house 
hold, Piero had taken service with Cardinal Albergata, a 
Carthusian who combined monkish piety with enthusiasm 
for the new learning. Albergata was generous in his 
patronage of struggling scholars, and on Piero s recom 
mendation he offered ^Eneas a post as secretary. Thus 
the taint of recent associations was at once obliterated, 
and ^Eneas left Florence, no longer in the service of 
Eugenius iv s enemies, but safe under the protection of a 
champion of orthodoxy, and the Pope s most loyal servant. 
Soon after, the Bishop of Novara was set at liberty, but 
^Eneas preferred the superior attractions of a Cardinal s 
household, and did not return to his service. Yet he bore 
his former master no grudge. He writes of him with 
respect and affection, and has a place for him in his 
collection of biographical sketches of the illustrious men 
of the age. 

Cardinal Albergata, meanwhile, was bound for the 
Congress of Arras, which had been summoned in the hope of 
ending the Hundred Years War and of giving peace to 
the distracted land of France. He crossed the Alps by the 
S. Bernard Pass, and descended upon the Lake of Geneva, 

1 Mansi, Pius II Orationes, vol. iii., De Viris Mtate sua Claris, p. 148. 

2 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 3. 



38 POPE PIUS II 

where he turned aside in order to visit Duke Amadeus vm 
of Savoy in his retreat at Ripaille. In 1431, after a reign 
of forty years, Duke Amadeus had startled Europe by 
retiring from the world. With six chosen companions, all 
of noble birth and widowers like himself, he had withdrawn 
to an estate upon the shores of the Lake of Geneva, in order 
to lead a hermit s life amid beautiful and peaceful sur 
roundings. Thus the royal hermit of Ripaille was a subject 
of popular interest at the moment, and ^Eneas, with the 
instincts of a true journalist, was at pains to describe all 
that he saw in the course of his visit. Albergata was 
met at the landing-stage by Amadeus and his companions, 
clad in long grey cloaks, with gold crosses upon their 
breasts and staffs in their hands. Hard by stood the 
church which Amadeus had built, with suitable dwellings 
for the priests who served it. Behind stretched a magni 
ficently wooded park, the home of deer and other wild 
creatures, screened from the outside world by a high wall. 
In this romantic setting hermit and Cardinal met and 
embraced, " kissing each other with much affection." To 
^Eneas it seemed " a worthy spectacle, which posterity 
will hardly believe." Only lately Amadeus had been " a 
most powerful Prince, feared by both French and Italians. 
He had been clad in cloth of gold, and surrounded by 
purple-robed courtiers ; ensigns of royalty were carried 
before him, armed cohorts and a crowd of great ones 
followed him. Now he received the Apostolic Legate in 
humble and poor array, preceded by six hermits, and 
followed by a few priests." x Albergata could not say 
enough in praise of Amadeus s renunciation, but when the 
party passed through the pleasant glades to the castle 
where these " Knights of S. Maurice " had made their home, 
^Eneas began to suspect the sincerity of their motives. 
Each of the six companions had his separate suite of 
rooms, fitted up with the greatest luxury. As to the apart 
ments of Amadeus, they were worthy of the Pope himself, 

1 Commentarii, lib. vii. p. 181. 



TRAVELS AND SECRETARYSHIPS 39 

and the whole Order seemed to live " a life of pleasure 
rather than of penance." l In the course of the visit ^Eneas 
noticed his friend Piero writing in charcoal upon a wall of 
the castle. The words which he wrote were those of 
Cicero : Totius autem injustitiae, nulla capitalior est 
quam eorum qui cum maxime fallunt, id agunt, ut viri 
boni esse videantur." 2 Piero s judgment was perhaps 
unnecessarily severe, yet the Duke s renunciation of the 
world did not by any means involve a surrender of worldly 
comfort. His piety, moreover, did not stand in the way of 
cautious concern for his own interests, as ^neas was to 
learn by experience a few years later, when Amadeus left 
his hermitage, at the request of the Council of Basel, to 
embark upon the final phase of his career as the anti-Pope, 
Felix v. 

Bidding farewell to Ripaille, Albergata and his household 
came to Basel, and from thence, in June 1435, they set out 
for Arras. The journey from Basel to Cologne was per 
formed by boat, and, as the company proceeded by easy 
stages down the Rhine, ^Eneas gained his first impression 
of the stately cities which he described in such glowing terms, 
years later, in his Ger mania. At Strassburg he found " so 
much splendour and beauty that it has, not without 
good cause, been endowed with the name of Argentina." 3 
The canals which intersected the city reminded him of 
Venice, although Strassburg was " healthier and pleasanter, 
the waters which traverse it being fresh and clear, instead 
of salt and evil-smelling as at Venice." At Speyer he was 
chiefly interested in the noble Cathedral with the tombs of 
the Emperors, among which he particularly noticed that 
of Rudolf of Hapsburg, "who is held to be the founder 
of the Austrian house." " Worms," he wrote, " is not a 

1 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 3. 

2 "Of all unrighteousness, none is greater than that of men who, 
when they err most, behave so that they appear to be virtuous " (Cicero, 
De Offic. i. 13 ; .SLneas Silvius, De Viris, Mansi, vol. iii. p. 179). 

3 Germania, p. 1052 (/Eneas Silvius, Opera quae extant omnia, Basel, 



40 POPE PIUS II 

large town, yet no one can deny that it is delightful." His 
historical mind at once associated it with the famous 
Concordat on the investiture question, made there in 1122. 
The ancient city of Mainz possessed " magnificent churches, 
and exceptionally fine public and private buildings." 
Nothing in it seemed to him amiss, save the extreme narrow 
ness of the streets. His highest praise, however, is reserved 
for Cologne. As a humanist he hailed it as " Colonia 
Agrippina," named after the mother of Nero ; he reverenced 
it as a Christian on account of the bones of the Magi 
enshrined in the Cathedral. " Noble in its churches and 
houses, eminent in its citizens, famed for its wealth, . . . 
adorned by public buildings and fortified by towers, it 
sports upon the banks of the Rhine surrounded by smiling 
meadows. ... In all Europe you will find nothing grander 
or fairer." 1 From Cologne the travellers took horse to 
Aachen, the ancient crowning-place of the German kings, 
riding from thence through the prosperous trading cities 
of the Low Countries, Liege, Louvain, Douay, and Tournay, 
until they came at last to Arras. 2 

At Arras, ^Eneas found himself among a brilliant and 
numerous company. Almost all the chief States of Europe 
sent representatives to the Congress. Albergata himself 
came as Papal Legate, Cardinal Hugh of Lusignan repre 
sented the Council of Basel, and some nine thousand 
strangers thronged the streets. The most conspicuous 
figure of the assembly was Philip the Good, Duke of Bur 
gundy, then in the prime of his manhood. All knew that 
the issue of the Congress turned on him. If he decided 
to renounce the English alliance and to make his peace 
with the King of France, the war would lose half its terrors, 
while the end could be only a question of time. In the 
intervals of the negotiations the members of the Congress 
sought relaxation in banquets and tournaments, and here 
the Duke of Burgundy surpassed himself in courtesy and 
affability. Only the English stood sullenly aloof from 

3 Germania, p. 1052, op. cit. l Commentarii, lib. i. p. 4. 



TRAVELS AND SECRETARYSHIPS 41 

the gay doings, seeing in Burgundy s efforts to court 
popularity with his fellow-countrymen the signs of his 
approaching reconciliation with the Crown. Hardly less 
noticeable than the mutual hatred of Burgundians and 
English was the rivalry between Albergata and Cardinal 
Hugh of Lusignan. 1 They would only meet in the presence 
of a mediator, and each sought to outdo the other in dis 
pensing privileges and indulgences. From the point of 
view of birth the advantage lay with Lusignan, but 
Albergata s wisdom and sincerity \von the confidence of 
the Congress. He was admitted to secret conferences 
from which his rival was excluded, and he it was who 
brought about the final reconciliation between Burgundy 
and the French king. This took place on 21 September 
1435, and ^Eneas marked the occasion by addressing to the 
Duke of Burgundy some verses upon the blessings of 
peace. 2 Our hero, however, was not in Arras on this 
auspicious occasion. He had already departed on a mission 
to James I of Scotland, " in order to stir up the King 
against the neighbouring Britons, who were opposed to 
the peace." 3 ^neas himself describes the purport of his 
mission as " the restoration of a certain Bishop to the 
royal favour," 4 but it seems likely that this was a mere 
pretext, and that Albergata wished to avert a renewal of 
hostilities in France by providing employment for the 
English on the Scottish Border. Whatever was the cause 
of the embassy, it was the first independent task entrusted 
to ^Eneas, and he welcomed it with enthusiasm. Posterity, 
too, has cause to rejoice over the circumstances which 
brought Great Britain and its inhabitants beneath the 
eye of this gifted observer. 

Our hero s adventures began at Calais. The English 
not unnaturally regarded Cardinal Albergata " with 

1 Cf. Voigt, Enea Silvio de Piccolomini ah Papst Pius II und sein 
Zeitalter, vol. i. p. 89. 

2 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 4. 

8 Campanus, Vita Pii (.Eneas Silvius, Opera, etc.). 
4 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 4. 



42 POPE PIUS II 

peculiar hatred because he had lured the Duke of Bur 
gundy from their side," 1 and the appearance of his 
secretary in Calais at once aroused suspicion. He was 
detained in his lodging, and not allowed either to go on 
or to turn back. 2 Deliverance came through no less a 
person than Cardinal Beaufort himself returning from 
Arras and thanks to the great man s timely aid, ^Eneas 
crossed to England without further mishap. Beaufort s 
friendliness may be accounted for by his championship 
of the peace party among the English, but on the other 
side of the Channel, as ^Eneas found to his cost, a very 
different spirit prevailed. The cry of the hour was for 
vengeance upon the promoters of the Peace of Arras, 
and Cardinal Albergata s secretary was refused letters of 
safe-conduct to Scotland. The only thing to be done was 
to retrace his steps, sad at heart to think that he had 
braved the perils of the sea in vain. " But," to quote his 
own words, " he was glad to have seen the most wealthy and 
populous city of London, and the noble church of S. Paul s, 
and the splendid tombs of the kings ; and the river Thames, 
which ebbs back from the sea more quickly than it flows 
into it, and is spanned by a bridge which resembles a city ; 
and the village in which report has it that men are born 
with tails ; and (that which obscures the fame of all else) 
the golden shrine of S. Thomas of Canterbury, covered 
with diamonds, pearls, and carbuncles, where they consider 
it a crime to offer any baser material than silver." 3 In 
the sacristy of S. Paul s he was shown a Latin translation 

1 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 4. 

2 A sixteenth-century writer, Antonio de Beatis, comments on the 
difficulty which travellers experienced in getting in and out of Calais, 
owing to the rigid rules which prevailed with regard to the closing of the 
solitary gate : " La porta che e una solamente se apre ad tal tempo ad 
due ho re di giorno, et la sera se serra ad hora di cena, zod ad xxii hore, 
ne se apre, se ce andasse el re in persona, in fine al giorno sequente in 
1 hora predicta ; et similmente sta serrata la matina finche le gente 
pransano " (Pastor, Die Reise des Kardinals Luigi d Aragona, 1517-8, 
pp. 122-3). 

3 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 4. 



TRAVELS AND SECRETARYSHIPS 43 

of Thucydides, dating from the ninth century, which 
interested him greatly. The name of the translator was 
not given, but " he must without doubt have been a 
learned man to have been able to render that great and 
eloquent author in the Latin tongue with no less effect than 
in the original Greek." 1 

After recrossing the Channel, ^Eneas made his way to 
Bruges, and from thence he embarked at Sluys on a vessel 
bound for Scotland. Once more he experienced ill-luck at 
sea. Two terrible storms arose and drove the ship in the 
direction of Norway, so far North that the sailors were no 
longer able to recognise the stars. At last " divine pity 
intervened, and caused the north wind to arise and blow 
the vessel towards land, so that on the twelfth day the 
coast of Scotland came in sight." 2 In the hour of peril 
^Eneas vowed to walk barefoot to the nearest shrine of the 
Blessed Virgin if he should ever reach the shore. On 
landing at Dunbar he at once set off on a pilgrimage of ten 
miles to Whitkirk. The way lay thick with ice and snow, 
and when, after two hours spent at his devotions, he rose 
to depart, his bare feet were so numbed that they refused 
to carry him. Supported by his servants, he struggled to 
the nearest village, and in the process of the effort warmth 
and life returned to his frozen limbs. For the rest of his 
life, however, he was a victim to attacks of gout in the 
feet, which often caused him intense suffering. 

^Eneas met with a favourable reception from the 
Scottish monarch, and professed himself well satisfied 
with the result of his mission. The expenses of his journey 
were paid, and he received besides two horses and a valuable 
pearl, which last he determined to give to his mother. 
James i he describes as small and fat, with bright, flashing 
eyes, passionate and revengeful in disposition. He men 
tions his long captivity in England, from which he had 



Silvius to Joliann Hinderbach, Vienna, June 1451 (Opera, 
Ep. 126, p. 652). 

2 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 4. 



44 POPE PIUS II 

returned with an English bride, the niece, or, as some 
said, the daughter of Cardinal Beaufort. 1 For the rest, 
^Eneas gives a vivid if unpleasing description of this northern 
land. 2 It was a cold, barren, treeless country, and, in 
the winter months, daylight only lasted three or four hours. 
The towns had no walls ; the houses were built without 
mortar and were roofed with turf. In the absence of 
wood, " a sulphurous stone, dug out of the earth," was 
used for fuel, and ^Eneas noticed half-naked beggars at 
the church doors, receiving this substance by way of alms. 
The people seemed to him poor and uncivilised ; the men 
were small and bold, the women were fair, good-looking, 
and amorously disposed. So free were Scottish manners 
that kissing meant no more than did shaking hands in 
Italy. White bread and wine were regarded as delicacies, 
but meat and fish were to be had in abundance, and the 
oysters were finer than in England. Scottish horses were 
small and shaggy, and were never groomed or bridled. 
There were no wolves in the country. Scotland was divided 
into two parts, the cultivated and the forest land. The 
forest Scots spoke a different language from the others, 
and lived on the bark of trees. Nothing pleased the Scots 
so much as abuse of the English. During his stay in 
Scotland ^Eneas made inquiries about the far-famed 
barnacle tree which grew on the river banks, and bore 
fruit which became live birds as soon as they touched the 
water. " We learned," he writes, with a touch of sarcasm, 
" that the marvel had fled still farther, and that the 
famous tree must be sought, not in Scotland, but in the 
isle of Orkney." 3 

When the time came to leave Scotland, the captain 
of the ship in which he had sailed from Sluys offered him 
a passage back. But ^neas was too much alive to past 
dangers, and he determined to travel home by way of 

1 ^Eneas Silvius, De Viris, op. cit., pp. 199-200. 

2 Commentarii, lib. i. pp. 4-5, and Europa, cap. 46 (Opera, pp. 387-471). 

3 Europa, cap. 46, op. cit. 



TRAVELS AND SECRETARYSHIPS 45 

England. He preferred, he said, to make trial of the 
mercies of man than to trust himself to the sea. The ship 
set sail without him, and was wrecked within sight of land, 
all lives on board save four being lost. Awed by the 
catastrophe and thankful for his providential escape, 
^Eneas started on his journey disguised as a merchant. 
He was ferried across the Tweed, and arrived at sunset in 
a large Northumbrian village, where the parish priest gave 
him a night s lodging. All the women of the village came 
to gaze at him as if he were a negro or an Indian, and they 
plied the priest with questions about his guest. Where 
had he come from ? What was his business ? Was he a 
Christian ? The wine and white bread which ^Eneas had 
brought with him excited much interest, and so many 
people asked to be allowed a taste that the courteous 
Italian ended by having none left for himself. At night 
fall all the male population took refuge in a neighbouring 
tower, lest they should be raided by the Scots. ^Eneas 
was left behind, as were also the women, with the assurance 
that the raiders would do them no harm. The whole 
company spent the night sitting round the watch-fire, the 
women cleaning hemp and chattering to ^Eneas s inter 
preter. Suddenly there was a violent barking of dogs and 
cackling of geese, and every one fled in terror. ^Eneas 
took refuge in a stable, but to his great relief the women 
soon returned, saying that it had been a false alarm. At 
last morning came, and with a thankful heart our hero 
bade farewell to the wild Border country, the like of which 
he had never seen before. The sight of the massive towers 
of Newcastle seemed to him like a return to the civilised 
world. 

On his way south yEneas visited the tomb of the Vener 
able Bede at Durham, and then came to York, " where 
there is a church to be remembered throughout the world." 
What specially struck him were the " glass walls, held 
together by slender columns." The metaphor enables us 
to catch the impression which the vast windows of York 



46 POPE PIUS II 

Minster left upon his mind. Later he fell in with one of 
the Justices in Eyre who was travelling to London, and 
who beguiled the way by discussing the Congress of Arras, 
denouncing Albergata as a wolf in sheep s clothing. " Who 
would not wonder at this trick of fortune ? " our hero 
asks. This man escorted ^Eneas in safety to London, but 
if he had known who his companion was he would have 
promptly cast him into prison." l At Dover, a judicious 
bribe to the harbour guards served him instead of a pass 
port, and having crossed the Channel, he made his way 
back to Basel without further adventure. On his arrival 
he found that Albergata had left for Italy, and that Piero 
da Noceto was just setting out to rejoin his master. 2 
Fearing an encounter with Eugenius iv, ^Eneas did not 
accompany him, and from that day forward his connection 
with Albergata was severed. The days of apprenticeship 
were now over ; our hero entered upon a fresh phase of his 
career, as an independent agent at the Council of Basel. 

^Eneas has little to say of his life in ecclesiastical 
households, yet it may be assumed that he had not found 
it a bed of roses. The position of a secretary varied, 
according to the disposition of the master, between that of 
a son, a pupil, and a servant, but in all cases the discipline 
of the household bore at least a resemblance to that of 
the monastery. The master considered himself responsible 
for the general training of his subordinates ; breaches of 
rule and moral delinquencies were punished with fasts, 
stripes, and imprisonment. Apart from the strict discipline 
to which they were subjected, the secretaries suffered from 
the common curse of community-life petty rivalries and 
jealousies. " Believe me," wrote /Eneas, " there is no 
harder lodging than a prince s court. Here strife, envy, 
calumny, hatred, contumely, and infinite ills find their 
home. And in the courts of ecclesiastics these things are 

1 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 6. 

2 Cf. yneas to Piero da Noceto, 7 May 1456 (Opera, Ep. 188, pp. 
756-63), 



TRAVELS AND SECRETARYSHIPS 47 

worse, because those who dwell there are more highly 
educated, and many apply their ingenuity to evil rather 
than to good." l The words form part of a letter of good 
advice to a young friend, holding a post in a Cardinal s 
household, who had written in a high state of indignation 
over a three days fast imposed on him by his master. 
This youth Gasparo Caccia by name had been detected 
in helping to smuggle a woman of evil fame out of the 
Cardinal s house. He considered the penance unjust 
because he was merely endeavouring to shield a friend 
one Giacomo who alone was responsible for the woman s 
presence. If Gasparo expected sympathy, he was doomed 
to disappointment. He was the Cardinal s servant, ^Eneas 
told him, eating his bread and drinking his wine ; he had 
failed to respect his master s honour and the latter had 
every right to punish. As to a three days fast, what was 
that to a strong young man ? " Others if their servants 
had acted thus would have driven them from the house, or 
caused them to be beaten with rods. Gaspare s foolish com 
plaints can only be the effect of " the excessive good-nature 
of the Cardinal, who indulges you and Giacomo too much." 
This letter was written when ^Eneas was approaching 
forty, a fact which may account for its severely moral tone. 
But the Cardinals whom he served were both strict dis 
ciplinarians, and he probably felt that, in his own days, he 
would not have escaped so lightly. Capranica was noted 
for the zeal with which he corrected the faults of his servants. 
Albergata, for his own part, kept the rule of the Carthusian 
Order throughout his Cardinalate, sleeping on straw, wear 
ing a hair-shirt, and eating no meat. His household was 
ruled over for twenty years by Tommaso Parentucelli, 
the future Pope Nicholas v. Hard-working, narrow- 
minded, scrupulously correct in his manner of living, 
Parentucelli was a distinguished disciple of the new learning 
while possessing little of the true spirit of humanism. No 

1 /Eneas Silvius to Gasparo Caccia, Vienna, 5 Oct. 1443 (Wolkan, 
Ep. 82 ; Opera, Ep. 16, and elsewhere). 



48 POPE PIUS II 

one was less likely to understand the versatile, pleasure- 
loving ^Eneas. The two were destined to meet and work 
together on many future occasions. Yet, throughout their 
subsequent relations, there is a note of disapproval in 
Parentucelli s attitude which seems to tell of friction in 
bygone days, in the household of Cardinal Albergata. 

Disadvantages notwithstanding, the four years of ap 
prenticeship had given ^Eneas just the training which he 
needed. " A secretary," he wrote, " is one who knows how 
to choose his words, and put them together dexterously, 
who is versed in the art of soothing, or of exciting the 
passions, whose writings are adorned by elegance, humour, 
and learning, . . . who, in short, is able to express every 
thing that comes within the scope of a letter briefly, ele 
gantly, accurately, and wisely." 1 A " secretary alone," 
he concludes, " can render absent men present." Who 
was more capable of satisfying these requirements than 
^Eneas Silvius, with his facile pen and his multifarious 
interests ? He had, in truth, found his vocation, and his 
future triumphs were won, to a great extent, through the 
exercise of a secretary s craft upon a larger scale. Even 
to-day he is still the ideal secretary of his conception. 
His writings make the past live again, and render an absent 
age present to succeeding generations. 



Silvius, Libellus Dialogorum de generalis Concilii authoritate, 
p. 754 (Kollarii, Analecta Monumentorum Vindobonensia, vol. ii. pp. 
691-790). 



CHAPTER III 
THE COUNCIL OF BASEL 

FROM the point of view of history, the most 
enduring political achievement of ^Eneas Silvius 
was the restoration of the Papal power upon the 
ruins of the Council of Basel. Six momentous years of his 
life, however, were spent as the champion and pamphleteer 
of the Council in its most revolutionary phase. Thus from 
first to last our hero s career is closely associated with that 
effort to reform the Church from within which we call the 
conciliar movement. In order to understand ^Eneas as a 
politician it is necessary to grasp something of the signifi 
cance of that movement, of the appeal which it made to 
the minds of the age, and of the inherent weakness which 
brought about its failure. His own connection with the 
movement passed through many stages. From a member 
of the moderate party he became a champion of the extreme 
anti-Papalists, and then an instrument in the downfall of 
his some-time allies. Finally, his political work as Pope 
consisted to a large extent in undoing the effects of the 
Council of Basel. The Compacts with the Hussites of 
Bohemia, the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges, and the 
declaration of German neutrality were alike fruits of 
the Council, and the reversal of all three measures was 
the work of Pius n. 1 Nevertheless, his apostasy is not so 

1 The Concordat of Vienna (1448), in which Germany made her peace 
with the Papacy, was, strictly speaking, the work of Nicholas v, but 
jEneas had a large share in the negotiations which preceded it, and the 
ecclesiastical policy embodied in the declaration of German neutrality 
was finally overthrown by Pius n. 

4 



50 POPE PIUS II 

black as it seems. When he first threw in his lot with the 
Council, there was good hope that it might effect a real 
reformation in the Church. When he severed his con 
nection with it, that hope was lost. If .Eneas had left 
Basel in 1438 instead of in 1442, his political career would 
have been free from inconsistency. But he remained for 
four years longer, at the sacrifice of his convictions, and in 
so doing he made a grave political mistake. The years of 
exile in Germany which followed, formed an appropriate 
penance for the last phase of his career at Basel. 

During the troubled years of the fourteenth century, 
when Avignon usurped the rights of Rome and the Papal 
power seemed tied to the chariot wheels of France, when 
the efforts of S. Catherine of Siena to restore the Papacy 
to Rome only resulted in the deeper confusion of the Great 
Schism, men s minds turned to the conciliar theory as the 
panacea for the Church s ills. By this means alone could 
the Church be raised from the mire, and sent forth purged 
and strengthened to battle with the world. A General 
Council, said the promoters of the movement, expressed 
the mind of the whole Christian Church. In the words of 
the famous Constance decree, " it has its power immediately 
from Christ, and all of every rank, even the Papal, are 
bound to obey it." l The theory emanated from the Uni 
versity of Paris ; it was a weapon forged by scholars and 
theologians in the course of their long warfare with the 
Papacy. Carried into effect, it would introduce a demo 
cratic element into the hitherto rigidly monarchical govern 
ment of the Church, and it was hailed with enthusiasm by 
all the advanced spirits of the age. At the same time, 
statesmen welcomed it as a means of effecting the much 
needed reform of the Papacy. All considered the existing 
state of affairs a disgrace, yet all had faltered before the 
task of reforming a power which admitted no limitations, 
and acknowledged no earthly superior. Hence the Council 
of Constance was supported, not only by the Universities, 

1 Mansi, Concilia, vol. xxix. p. 21. 



THE COUNCIL OF BASEL 51 

but also by the chief European powers. Their combined 
efforts achieved some measure of success. The abdication 
or deposition of the three rival Pop.es removed the most 
glaring scandal from the Church, while the decree Frequens 
(9 October 1417) asserted the superiority of General Councils 
and made provision for their recurrence. When, however, 
the Council proceeded to the reform of the Church " in 
head and members," it was brought to a standstill by the 
discovery that Christendom no longer possessed a common 
mind. The Universities were zealous for reform, but the 
nations of Europe, although unanimous on the necessity 
of ending the schism, were, on all other subjects, either 
indifferent or torn by conflicting interests. The Council 
of Constance," says Creighton, " failed because it repre 
sented Christendom too faithfully, even to its national 
dissensions." 

In 1423, the year in which ^Eneas came to the University, 
the first Council summoned in accordance with the Con 
stance decree met at Siena. But the scant support which it 
received and the quarrels among its members gave Pope 
Martin v an excuse for dissolving the assembly in March 
1424, before anything had been accomplished. He con 
sented without misgiving to the summons of a fresh Council, 
to be held at Basel in seven years time, strong in the 
knowledge that the control of the situation lay in the hands 
of the restored Papacy. 

The Council of Basel would, in all probability, have 
been as ineffective as its predecessor but for the genius 
and enthusiasm of one man. Cardinal Giuliano Cesarini 
came to Basel in September 1431 to take up the office of 
president. Less than a month before, he had been present 
at the disastrous battle of Tauss, and had witnessed the 
rout of the crusading army by the warrior heretics of 
Bohemia. Convinced that the war against the Hussites 
could not be waged with the sword, he fixed his hopes upon 
the Council of Basel as the means whereby rebel Bohemia 
could be brought within the fold of the Church. Gifts of 



52 POPE PIUS II 

mind and heart combined in Cesarini to render him well- 
nigh the ideal leader of a great assembly. His was not 
merely the learning of the scholar but the culture of the 
humanist. Possessed of great personal beauty, eloquent, 
lovable, passionately in earnest, he drew men by the un 
conscious attraction of his personality no less than he moved 
them by his words. With all his deep conviction, he was 
ever a peacemaker. Tact and sympathy enabled him to 
use his unparalleled influence in promoting good under 
standing between opponents. His belief in the conciliar 
movement was coupled with unswerving loyalty to the 
Papacy, and his dearest ambition was to effect a recon 
ciliation between Eugenius iv and the Fathers at 
Basel. 

When Cesarini came to Basel the Council was composed 
of three bishops, seven abbots and a few doctors, and the 
first semblance of activity which he contrived to produce 
in this meagre assembly was met by the Pope s Bull of 
dissolution. Undaunted by this unpromising beginning, 
he addressed a dignified protest to the Pope, imploring him, 
if he cared aught for the welfare of the Church, to recon 
sider his action. Having thus satisfied his honour as a 
servant of the Papacy, he turned to the affairs of the 
Council, and threw himself into the work of organisation. 
Very soon the effect of his presence made itself felt. The 
Hussites accepted his invitation to a Conference, and the 
Emperor Sigismund showed himself ready to champion 
the cause of an assembly which promised a solution of his 
difficulties as King of Bohemia. The King of France 
professed his determination " to live and die with the 
Council," while fresh arrivals added daily to the numbers 
of the Fathers. In November 1432, ^Eneas Silvius wrote of 
the number of ecclesiastics present as " great and noble," 
including " a vast quantity of bishops and abbots from 
all parts of Christendom." The Council was fully organ 
ised ; its officers were chosen. The whole assembly, 
in fact, was established upon a firm basis, and there was 



THE COUNCIL OF BASEL 53 

" no fear of the Pope." 1 Early in the following year the 
Council achieved its greatest triumph in the conference 
with the Hussite leaders which took place under its auspices. 
Cesarini, while surrendering nothing of the orthodox 
position, contrived to make the Hussites feel that their 
point of view was respected. Under the influence of his 
large-minded charity both parties showed creditable 
forbearance and a real desire for union. The conference 
broke up amid mutual professions of goodwill, and the 
deliberations at Basel formed the basis of the celebrated 
Compacts, 2 which, by conceding the right of communicating 
under both kinds as a special privilege to Bohemia, rendered 
it possible for all moderate Hussites to live at peace with the 
Catholic Church. The compromise proved but a temporary 
truce. From the first both parties made it their object 
to set at naught its conditions, and some thirty years later 
it fell to the lot of Pius n to annul the Compacts, which 
were no longer a basis of union but a source of perpetual 
strife. Nevertheless, Cesarini and his supporters had made 
a real advance in the direction of unity. A loyal acceptance 
of the Compacts on both sides would have gone far to solve 
the religious problems of Bohemia, while the friendly dis 
putants at Basel had set an example of tolerance and 
mutual understanding altogether in advance of the age. 

^neas s connection with the Council of Basel began in 
the early days of Cesarini s ascendancy. From the time 
of his arrival in Capranica s train he made a practice of 
sending reports of the Council s doings to the Republic of 
Siena, 3 and the references to Cesarini contained in these 
letters show how entirely the impressionable young secretary 
succumbed to the dominating influence at Basel. When 
the envoys of the University of Paris spoke vehemently 
against Eugenius iv, urging that " he should forthwith 

1 ^Eneas Silvius to the Republic of Siena, Basel, i Nov. 1432 (Wolkan, 
Ep. 8). 

2 The Compacts were signed at Iglau, 5 July 1436. 

3 Cf. Wolkan, Epp. 8-15, 17, 18, 20-23 (from MSS. in the Vatican 
Archives and elsewhere). 



54 POPE PIUS II 

be proceeded against, pronounced contumacious and 
deprived of obedience/ it was Cesarini, ^Eneas tells us, 
" the wisest man of our age," who poured oil on the troubled 
waters, and caused more moderate counsels to prevail. 1 
" The Cardinal of S. Angelo," runs another report, " pos 
sesses the highest authority with the Council." 2 The 
authority which he exercised over ^Eneas sufficed to make 
our hero an eager champion of the conciliar movement. 
He rejoices over the triumphs of the Council, trembles before 
its dangers, and is ready to identify its cause with that of 
Church itself. " The bark of S. Peter," he writes at a critical 
moment in the Council s career, " can never be submerged, 
however tempestuous are the waves which encompass it, 
as Giotto has shown in his painting at S. Peter s in Rome." 3 
For all his personal sympathies, ^Eneas s position at Basel 
was that of a mere soldier of fortune. His pen was at 
the service of the highest bidder, be he friend or opponent 
of the Council, and his primary concern was the pursuit of 
his own career. In the interests of his career he entered the 
service of Albergata, an uncompromising adherent of the 
Papacy, and in 1436 the same interests prompted his 
return to Basel. Private convictions were a luxury of the 
great, and were entirely out of place in a struggling secre 
tary. The most that can be said is that he was undoubtedly 
glad when the exigencies of fortune once more bade him 
throw in his lot with the Council. 

In 1436 the Council of Basel was, to all outward appear 
ances, at the height of its power. It had won for itself the 
support of Europe, and in the face of this general consensus 
of opinion the Pope had been forced to yield. In January 
1434 envoys from Rome arrived in Basel to announce that 

1 /Eneas Silvius to the Republic of Siena, Basel, 18 Dec. 1432 (Wolkan, 
Ep. 10). 

2 -^neas Silvius to the Republic of Siena, Milan, i July 1434 (Wolkan, 
Ep. 15). 

3 /Eneas Silvius to the Republic of Siena, Milan, 17 Nov. 1433 (Wolkan, 
Ep. 14). This refers to Giotto s celebrated mosaic of the Navicella in the 
portico of S. Peter s. 



THE COUNCIL OF BASEL 55 

the Bull of dissolution was revoked, and that the Pope had 
declared his adhesion to the Council. It was a signal 
triumph for Cesarini, and seemed to open the path to far- 
reaching schemes for the reform of the Church. Yet, once 
more, the history of Constance repeated itself, and the 
handling of the delicate question of reform proved fatal to 
the Council s future career. Weaknesses became apparent 
which had hitherto been concealed, unity was marred by the 
strife of factions. The division lay between Cesarini and 
other disinterested promoters of reform on the one hand, 
and, opposed to them, the clamorous party whose concep 
tion of reform was limited to attacks upon the Papal power. 
Head and chief of the extremists was Louis d Allemand, 
Cardinal of Aries. A man of high character and sound 
learning, he strove for the cause which he had at heart with 
a freedom from considerations of self-interest as complete 
as that of Cesarini. At the same time he was a born 
fighter, consumed with bitter hatred of Eugenius iv, and, 
in all questions pertaining to the Council, as eager for 
warfare as was Cesarini for peace. He was followed by the 
bulk of the French clergy and by the University repre 
sentatives, all moved by unreasoning hostility to the 
Papacy. " With regard to the reform of the Church," 
wrote our hero of d Allemand and his supporters, " they 
held it w r ell done and wholly reformed if the Pope left 
freedom to the Chapters, if he made no reservations, if he 
received no annates, if he gave Apostolic letters without 
fee, and if he commended to no churches. . . . Reform 
only seemed to them holy if it stripped the Apostolic 
See." ! 

The rise to power of this extreme party is marked by 
the decree abolishing annates which issued from the 
Council in June 1435. Quite apart from the general 
principle involved, annates, under the existing system, 
formed the Pope s chief source of income, and to cut them 



Silvius, De Rebus Basiliae Gestis Commentaries, p. Ci (Fea, 
Pius II a caluwiniis vindicates}. 



56 POPE PIUS II 

off at one blow, without attempting to provide a substitute, 
was the action of wilful opponents rather than of earnest 
and prudent reformers. Eugenius iv at once gained an 
excuse for his attitude towards the Council, and public 
opinion, which he had alienated by his own violence, began 
to veer towards the Papacy, in disgust at the absence 
of moderation displayed by the anti-Papal party. For 
Cesarini, too, the decree against annates marked the parting 
of the ways. Till then his influence had sufficed to restrain 
the more vehement opponents of the Papacy, but now for 
the first time he had to bow before defeat. " Quarrels 
broke out again," writes ^Eneas, " and the division arose 
not so much between Pope and Council as between the 
Fathers of the Council themselves." 1 Cesarini s place in 
the assembly was no longer that of arbiter ; he became 
little more than leader of the minority. 

When ^neas took up his life at Basel in the spring of 
1436, the burning question of the hour arose out of the 
choice of a city in which the approaching conference with 
the Eastern Church should be held. It was, on the face 
of it, a small matter, but it formed the occasion of the 
last great struggle between moderates and extremists, 
between the party of Cesarini and the party of d Allemand. 
It was the rock upon which the Council foundered. The 
long-sought union of the Western and Eastern Churches 
seemed to Cesarini a task worthy of the Council of his 
dreams, and as early as 1434 negotiations were opened 
with the Greeks. The representatives of the Eastern 
Church expressed their entire readiness for a conference, 
but they stipulated that it should not take place at Basel, 
although they were willing to come to any Italian city, 
and, failing this, to a town in Savoy. They further required 
that the expenses of their journey should be paid, and thus 
the question of the seat of the conference turned largely 
on what city would guarantee the loan which the Council 
must needs raise for the purpose. In a report written soon 

Silvius, De Rebus, op. cit., p. 61. 



THE COUNCIL OF BASEL 57 

after his return to Basel, yEneas informs the Republic of 
Siena that " the Pope and all the Italians are in favour of 
an Italian city, but all the rest enemies of the Latin name 
refuse to come to Italy. I do not know whether it will 
be possible to transfer the Council to Italy, but I hope that 
our prudence and perseverance may triumph, and that 
Italy may eventually have the Council." 1 ^Eneas s own 
ambition at this juncture was to secure the coveted boon 
for his native Siena. " It will be a fine affair," he wrote, 
" and a sight worthy to be seen, and it will bring much 
advantage and honour to the city in which the Council 
is held. Would that you, O Sienese, might enjoy so great 
a benefit." 2 In his opinion, Siena had many chances 
in her favour. The Duke of Milan, Florence, and Venice 
had alone promised the requisite loan, and the enmity 
between these great Italian powers would make any one 
of the three assent to the choice of Siena rather than see 
the Council pass beneath the control of a rival. Siena 
had already been the seat of a Council, she had the favour 
of the Germans owing to her recent reception of the Emperor 
Sigismund, and Cesarini gave his support to the scheme. 
All that remained was for Siena to be generous in her offers 
of a loan. " I beg you," he pleads, " to ponder this 
matter with a calm mind, to consider the advantage and 
honour of your country, and to trust ^Eneas, who speaks 
out of love." 3 Siena, however, remained deaf to her son s 
entreaties. In lieu of the 70,000 ducats asked for, she 
persistently declined to offer more than 30,000, and ^Eneas 
could only mourn the short-sightedness which spurned his 
advice. 

Meanwhile, our hero found consolation for his disappoint 
ment in the opportunity which arose for him to make his 
first public oration. The envoy appointed by the Duke of 

1 .Eneas Silvius to the Republic of Siena, Basel, 9 April 1436 (Wolkan, 
Ep. 20). 

2 ^neas Silvius to the Republic of Siena, Basel, 6 August 1436 
(Wolkan, Ep. 21). 

3 Loc. cit, Cf. also Ep. 22 (25 Oct. 1436) and Ep. 23 (n Dec. 1436). 



58 POPE PIUS II 

Milan to urge upon the Council the choice of Pavia proved 
quite incapable of making a speech, and Cesarini, liking 
the clever young secretary who regarded him with such 
admiring eyes, willingly allowed ^Eneas to step into the 
breach. He sat up all night writing his oration, and held 
forth the next day, for two hours, to an attentive and 
admiring audience. 1 As regards the substance of the 
oration, it is chiefly remarkable for the zeal with which 
.ZEneas set himself to gratify every shade of opinion in turn ; 
but the careful attention to style at once proclaims the 
author as a disciple of humanism, and the rounded periods 
of his rhetoric came as a pleasant change from the less 
polished utterances to which the Fathers were wont to 
listen. 2 

When Cesarini encouraged ^Eneas in his ambitions for 
Siena he had done so because the city stood more or less 
on neutral ground. It was in Italy, yet it was not, as 
Venice or Florence, definitely Papal in sympathy. The 
same might be said of Pavia, with this difference that the 
Duke of Milan was a mighty Prince, feared alike by his 
friends at Basel and his enemies of the Papal party, and 
that all hesitated to place the future Council under his 
influence. Hence the ultimate decision of the Fathers 
was not affected by ^Eneas s eloquence. On 5 December a 
majority of two-thirds voted for the transference of the 
Council to Avignon. In vain Cesarini protested that 
Avignon was not among the places mentioned by the 
Greeks. The city had made satisfactory replies to the 
demand for a loan, and the French party seized the excuse 
for keeping the Council out of Italy. 

^Eneas s oration had failed to help his cause, but at 
least it furthered his own advancement ; the Archbishop 
of Milan acknowledged his services by bestowing on him 
a provostship in the Church of S. Lorenzo in Milan. Un 
fortunately, the Chapter of S. Lorenzo had already made 

1 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 6. 

2 Mansi, Pius II Orationes, vol. i. p. 5. 



THE COUNCIL OF BASEL 59 

another choice, and the Milanese raised a vehement protest 
in the Council against having a stranger and a layman foisted 
upon them, in defiance of the recent decree insisting on free 
capitular election. 1 ^Eneas s speech in his own defence was 
a masterpiece of specious argument. The decree concern 
ing elections," he urged, " binds inferiors but not the Council 
itself ; moreover, freedom of election should be allowed to 
Chapters with many and weighty members, not when, as 
in the Church of S. Lorenzo, there are only two or three 
canons, unlearned and unimportant, who, if they had the 
power of election, would not choose anyone unless they 
were commanded to do so. You, Fathers, will act as you 
think right. I ask nothing that is against your honour, 
but if you decide to provide for me, I shall prefer this sign 
of your favour without possession of the provostship, to 
possession by capitular election." 2 Who could withstand 
such graceful flattery ? Fortified by the Council s consent, 
^Eneas set out for Milan, and, with the aid of the Duke, he 
w r as able to oust the Chapter s candidate. " But having 
obtained the provostship, he was laid upon the bed of sick 
ness, being seized by a terrible fever." 3 He was still ill 
when, after seventy-five days, he started on his return 
journey ; but the ride over the Alps in the bright spring 
weather did what doctors had failed to accomplish. ^Eneas 
arrived at Basel completely restored to health, in time to 
preach before the Council on S. Ambrose s Day (4 April 
1437), and to sound the praises of Milan s patron saint 
to the envy of theologians and the admiration of his 
hearers. 

During .Eneas s absence from Basel the controversy 
over the future seat of the Council had raged without 
intermission. Affairs were now rapidly approaching a 
crisis, and the unedifying quarrels and vain attempts at 
reconciliation which marked the final stages of the struggle 
have been immortalised in a letter which ^Eneas wrote 

1 22 March 1436. Cf. Mansi, Concilia, xxix. p. 120. 

2 Comtnentarii, lib. i. p. 7. 3 Loc. cit. 



60 POPE PIUS II 

to Piero da Noceto. 1 Early in the year a compromise 
was made to the effect that, if Avignon had not produced 
the promised loan by 12 April, " the Holy Council could 
and was bound to make choice of another place." Yet 
when the appointed day was past, and the Council proceeded 
to a fresh election, the French once more gave their vote 
for Avignon. Their opponents promptly declared the 
decree of the majority to be illegal, and withdrew to record 
their vote in favour of Florence or Udine. In vivid words, 
.^Eneas describes the scenes which ensued. The vocifera 
tions of contending prelates grew noisier than those of 
drunkards in a wine-tavern, and the Fathers, who came 
together in order to give peace to Christendom, were only 
restrained from bloodshed by the intervention of the 
magistrates of Basel. When Cesarini arose to speak, he 
who, as Cicero and Demosthenes of old, had ruled the 
assembly by his eloquence, could not even gain a hearing 
for his counsels of peace and moderation. " Such is the 
instability of all things human, and vain is the favour of 
the multitude." The climax came on Tuesday, 7 May 
a day on which all the influences of the stars combined to 
produce discord 2 when the rival decrees were published 
simultaneously in different parts of the Cathedral. The 
bishops, as they donned their vestments and mitres, re 
minded ^Eneas of armies preparing for battle, and the 
invocation of the Holy Spirit, " whose sole delight is in 
concord," seemed to him almost blasphemous. Some 
laughed at the discordant sounds of the rival Te Deums 
which followed the reading of the decrees, but they fell 
on our hero s ears as the swan-song of the conciliar move- 

1 ^Eneas Silvius to Piero da Noceto, 21 May 1437 (Wolkan, Ep. 24 ; 
also in Mansi, Concilia, xxxi. p. 220). 

2 Jupiter, ^Eneas tells us, was in the tail of the Scorpion, as it had 
been on the outbreak of the Great Schism and at the Mohammedan 
Hegira. The day of the week was that dedicated to Mars, the god of 
war, and the fact that amid these stormy influences a schism in the 
Church was temporarily averted must be ascribed to the Blessed Virgin, 
" who would not suffer the seamless robe of her Son to be rent in the 
month dedicated to her name " (^Eneas Silvius to Noceto, loc. cit.}. 



THE COUNCIL OF BASEL 61 

ment. " Verily," he exclaims, " when wise men take to 
folly they surpass all fools, even as the finest wine turns to 
the sourest vinegar." 

The schism of May 7 did, in truth, mark the beginning 
of the end. From that time forward events followed one 
another in quick succession, each adding its span to the 
chasm which yawned between the rival parties at Basel. 
Before the end of the month, Eugenius iv took his stand 
upon the decree of the minority, and fixed Florence or 
Udine as the seat of the conference. In July, the dominant 
party in the Council drew up its indictment against the 
Pope, and summoned him to Basel to answer the charges 
brought against him. In September, Eugenius answered 
the challenge by a Bull of dissolution. Thus, for the 
second time in its history, the Council of Basel was deprived 
of the sanction of the head of Christendom, and Cesarini s 
hopes of unity between Pope and Council received their 
death-blow. For a few months the gallant Cardinal 
lingered on, striving to promote peace, but he could not 
stifle the growing conviction that the time had come for a 
loyal son of the Church to turn his back upon Basel. On 
20 December he addressed the Council for the last time. He 
spoke with grief of the war of letters and pamphlets which 
waged between the rival factions, and deplored the time 
spent in mutual recrimination. With all his old eloquence 
he besought the Fathers to consider what they were doing, 
and to pause before they plunged the Church into the ills 
of a fresh schism. But the shame of the past months 
had shattered his enthusiastic idealism ; God alone knew, 
he declared, whether the cause for w r hich he had laboured 
were true or false. Early in January 1438 he rode out of 
Basel, 1 and passed for the time being out of the life of 
^neas Silvius. Yet his influence over our hero was more 
than transitory, and .Eneas never ceased to think and write 
of him in the language of hero-worship. The two had 

1 Creighton (ii. 319) says 9 Jan., but cf. ^Eneas s letter of n Jan. 
" abibit ut fertur hodie aut penitus eras " (Wolkan, Ep. 26). 



62 POPE PIUS II 

much in common. Not only were Cesarini s gifts and 
virtues those which made a special appeal to ^neas, but 
his career was just such a one as ^Eneas might hope to 
imitate. Born of a poor but noble family, Cesarini had 
found himself in the pursuit of the gleaming banner of 
humanism, and by means of eloquence and learning he 
had risen to the foremost rank in the Church. Why, 
asked yEneas, as he watched Cesarini at Basel, why should 
not I do what he has done ? These ambitions were realised 
in the future. The career of Pius n bears much resemblance 
to that of Cardinal Cesarini, and when at the last he gave 
his life for the crusading cause, he was still following in 
the path of his hero. On 10 November 1444, Cesarini died 
fighting against the Turk upon the fatal field of Varna. 
" There is a report," wrote ^Eneas, when he sent the 
news of the defeat to Italy, " that Giuliano, Cardinal of 
S. Angelo, the wisest and most eloquent man of our age, 
fell in this battle, and that his most noble spirit, so divinely 
fitted for every good work, has breathed its last. . . . 
Some say that he has escaped, . . . which is my earnest 
hope ; but his death seems to me more probable because 
he was never fortunate in war. . . . Whatever his fate 
has been, I believe that all is well with him, who fought 
for the Christian faith ; and if, as they say, he has died 
for Christ, he has without doubt passed to Him." 1 

When Cesarini left Basel, he offered horses and money 
for the journey to all who were willing to accompany him. 2 
If ^Eneas had been guided by conviction alone, he would 
undoubtedly have accepted the offer. Although no advocate 
of Eugenius, he had little in common with the Cardinal of 
Aries and his supporters. His letters since his return to 
Basel were written from the point of view of an impartial 
observer, seeing light and darkness on both sides, and using 



Silvius to the Duke of Milan, Neustadt, 13 Dec. 1444 (Wolkan, 
Ep. 167 ; Opera, Ep. 52, and elsewhere). 

2 ^neas Silvius, Basel, n Jan. 1438 (Wolkan, Ep. 26, from Archivio 
di Stato, Siena). 



THE COUNCIL OF BASEL 63 

such influence as he possessed to uphold Cesarini in his 
advocacy of a. via media. " On this side," he wrote of the 
French party, " there are many more prelates, but where 
there is more honesty is another question. The (Papal) 
legates have the majority of theologians, but I do not 
think that they have more faith. ... If you ask my 
opinion, I believe that there are very few on either side 
who are moved solely by considerations of justice." 1 
^Eneas s belief in the conciliar movement had in fact 
suffered disillusionment. He was disgusted at the self- 
seeking and enmity which he saw on every side, and his 
better self would have been glad to depart. But, mean 
while, the struggling adventurer had at last established a 
sure footing in Basel. He had begun to acquire reputation 
as a speaker and a diplomatist. Layman that he was, he 
had been made a member of the Council. He held his 
provostship under the patronage of the Duke of Milan, a 
personal enemy of the Pope. The Bull of deposition, 
moreover, had led to a considerable exodus from Basel, 
and the moment when offices were left vacant for new 
blood was not that which a rising politician would choose 
for quitting the scene of the Council. To leave Basel 
with Cesarini, it seemed, would have been to sacrifice his 
career. ^Eneas preferred to throw himself into the 
championship of a cause in which he only half believed, 
until his scruples were drowned in the flood of his own 
eloquence. 

iEneas was now a person of some note in the Council, 
and during the next two years he rose rapidly. He was 
made head of the secretarial department, and later became 
Abbreviator Major, in which capacity he drafted the less 
important letters and documents issued in the name of the 
Fathers. He was sent on various embassies, and often pre 
sided over the Deputation of Faith to which he belonged. 2 



Silvius to Piero da Noceto (Wolkan, Ep. 24). 
2 The Council of Basel was organised for business into four Deputa 
tions : Faith, Reformation, Peace, General Purposes. Each elected its 



64 POPE PIUS II 

He even sat on the Committee of Twelve, " which office was 
of great weight, for the Deputations could discuss nothing 
that had not been laid before them by the Twelve, nor could 
anyone be admitted to the Council without their sanction." 1 
In the summer of 1439, his labours were interrupted by a 
terrible outbreak of pestilence. 2 Hardly a house in Basel 
escaped the ravages of the disease, and between Easter and 
Martinmas some 5000 deaths were recorded. " The youth 
of the city," writes ^Eneas, "fell like leaves of the forest 
before the first frost of autumn." Nor was the Council 
spared. In the Patriarch of Aquileia, and the learned 
jurist Lodovico Pontano, it lost two of its most prominent 
supporters, while there were numerous gaps in the lower 
ranks of the assembly. As the terror increased many were 
in favour of leaving Basel, at least for a time; but the 
Cardinal of Aries, fearing that if the Council were once 
prorogued it would never reassemble, remained valiantly 
at his post, and his example sufficed to keep a nucleus of 
the Fathers together. It was a strange, gloomy summer 
for all who remained in the pestilence-stricken city. Many 
people shut themselves up in their houses and shunned all 
intercourse with their fellows, while those who were obliged 
to venture into the streets went about holding their breath, 
lest they should catch the fumes of the disease. At every 
corner they met a funeral, or a priest hurrying with the 
Blessed Sacrament to the dying. So rapid was the course 
of the disease that it was possible to see a man alive and 
well, and to hear ten hours later that he was buried. ^Eneas 
himself was among the victims ; his friends despaired of his 
life, and even caused him to receive extreme unction. He 
escaped from the very jaws of death through the good 

own President every month. The Committee of Twelve was also elected 
monthly. Cf. Mansi, Concilia, xxix. p. 377, and John of Segovia, cap. 
xxi., xxii. 

1 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 6. Cf. Mansi, xxix. p. 377. 

2 For ^Eneas s account of the plague cf. Commentariorum Aeneae Sylvii 
de Gestis Basiliensis Concilii (Opera, pp. 46-7) and Commentarii, lib. i. 
p. 7. 



THE COUNCIL OF BASEL 65 

offices of a pious German doctor, whom, according to his 
own account, he preferred to a clever but unbelieving 
Frenchman. " Wonderful was the faith and goodness of 
the man, and almost unheard of in a doctor " the good 
German actually refused to take the six gold ducats which 
tineas offered him by way of payment, and, when they were 
pressed upon him, he would only accept them on the under 
standing that he should cure six poor people for nothing. 
^Eneas s joy at his own recovery was mingled with sorrow 
at the loss of a dear friend, one Jean Pinan, the secretary 
of the Cardinal of Aries. On hearing the sad news, " the 
half of his soul seemed to have been taken from him, and 
he no longer had any enthusiasm for the affairs of the 
Council, nor any energy for the pursuit of learning." 
" Alas," he exclaims, " for the uncertainty of earthly 
things ! alas, for the vain promises of the world ! ^Eneas, 
who in his own person could not die, died in that of his 
friend." The plague was a cause of material loss to ^Eneas, 
for it cost him his provostship of S. Lorenzo. Filippo 
Maria Visconti was already wavering in his allegiance to 
the Council, and he took advantage of the rumours of 
iEneas s death to bestow the provostship upon another. 
In vain our hero addressed letters of complaint to his friend 
the Archbishop of Milan. The Duke had no further need 
for his services in Basel, and the some-time provost was 
obliged to console himself with a canonry at Trent assigned 
to him by the Council. Even here he encountered some 
opposition, and he did not enjoy the income of the canonry 
until he had gone in person to Trent and ousted " a certain 
German, a quarrelsome and crafty man who had intruded 
himself by means of the Chapter." l Such were the words 
which a champion of the conciliar movement permitted 
himself to use of the much vaunted freedom of capitular 
election. 

Meanwhile the Council pursued its course. By a decree 
of 25 June 1439, Eugenius iv was deposed from his office, 

1 Commentani, lib. i. p. 8. 

5 



66 POPE PIUS II 

and as soon as the cessation of the pestilence enabled the 
sessions to be resumed, the Fathers proceeded to the busi 
ness of electing an anti-Pope. On 29 October, ^Eneas wrote 
to the Archbishop of Milan enclosing a list of the thirty- 
three electors who were to enter the Conclave on the 
morrow. 1 He himself had been advised to take orders so as 
to qualify for the office of elector, but he contented himself 
with acting as a clerk of the Conclave and master of the 
ceremonies. In this capacity he had full opportunity of 
observing the proceedings, which followed closely the 
Roman ritual. He also took note of such incidental details 
as the disappointment of those who had made all pre 
parations for entering the Conclave only to find that they 
had not been chosen as electors, or the anxiety which others 
displayed about their food, which was passed into the Con 
clave through a window under his own inspection. These 
and other living touches find their way, with perhaps 
more truthfulness than decorum, into his Commentaries 
on the Council. 

The leaders of the Council had not acted without fore 
thought, and before the Conclave began it was already 
tolerably certain upon whom the choice of the electors 
would fall. On 6 November, ^Eneas announced in the 
time-honoured phrase that " we have a Pope . . . the 
most illustrious Duke of Savoy." " He has dominions," 
he added, " on both sides of the Alps. All Italy will tremble, 
and there will not be a safe corner left for Gabriel." 2 A 
few weeks later our hero was once more at Ripaille, being a 
member of the deputation sent to announce the news of the 
election to the royal hermit, and to prepare the way for his 
assumption of his new dignities. 

The coronation of Felix v, as Amadeus decided to call 
himself, took place at Basel on 24 July 1440, and again 

1 .Eneas Silvius to Francesco Pizzolpasso, Archbishop of Milan, Basel, 
29 Oct. 1439 (Wolkan, Ep. 31). 

2 ^)neas Silvius to the Archbishop of Milan, 6 Nov. 1439 (Wolkan, 
Ep. 33 ; cf. also Ep. 32 to the Sienese Republic). To the champion of 
the Council Eugenius iv is now Gabriel Condulmier, 



THE COUNCIL OF BASEL 67 

;Eneas constituted himself the historian of the occasion. 
A vast platform, he tells us, 1 was erected outside the 
Cathedral, and here the ceremony was performed amid 
a splendid company of nobles and ecclesiastics. The 
spectators numbered some 50,000 ; roofs, windows, trees 
were all occupied, and the square itself " was so full of 
people that there was no space for a grain of mustard- 
seed." Felix amazed every one by his intimate acquaint 
ance with ecclesiastical ceremony. He did not make a 
single slip himself, and even corrected the mistakes of 
others. " No one would have thought that a man who 
had been immersed in worldly affairs for forty years would 
be able so to steep himself in the rites of the Church." He 
celebrated Mass with the utmost dignity, his two sons acting 
as servers, and many wept with joy and emotion at the 
sight of " the aged father celebrating while his noble sons 
served him, like young olive trees round about the altar." 
Finally the magnificent triple crown was produced, and the 
Cardinal of Aries reaped the reward of his labours for 
the Council as, amid breathless silence, he placed it upon 
the new Pope s head. The company then formed itself into 
a procession and passed through the streets of Basel, the 
Bishop of Strassburg bearing the Host, and the place which 
custom assigned to the captains of the Papal fleet being 
occupied by the Pope s companions at Ripaille, the six 
Knights of S. Maurice. Last of all came " he whom all 
eyes sought," Felix v, the Pope of the Council of Basel, 
wearing the Papal tiara, and blessing the people as he 
went. 

One small contretemps alone marred the effect of the 
coronation ceremony, and ^Eneas would not be himself if 
he failed to record it. It fell to the notaries and secretaries 
of the Council to chant the responses to the prayers, but 
when the moment came " they gave forth so discordant a 
sound that they produced not only laughter but tears." 

1 .Eneas Silvius to John of Segovia, Basel, 13 Aug. 1440 (Wolkan, 
Ep. 34 ; also in Opera, pp. 61-3). 



68 POPE PIUS II 

For the next week these amateur choristers and their chant 
formed the favourite subject of gossip, and many were 
overcome with shame at the thought of their performance. 
" But I/ says ^Eneas, " although I was among them, did 
not regard my ignorance of singing as a disgrace, . . . and 
the next day, when the same office was said at the Dominican 
Convent, I did not blush to chant my lay." x 

His own joy in the occasion was rendered complete 
by his being made one of Felix v s secretaries. At the 
Roman Curia a secretaryship carried with it numerous 
perquisites and boundless opportunities of advancement, so 
that for the moment J^neas felt as if his fortune were made. 
He threw himself with increased ardour into the cause of 
the Council, and the year 1440 saw the production of two im 
portant literary works, both written from the standpoint 
of a whole-hearted champion of the conciliar movement. 
The University of Cologne had lately made a pronounce 
ment which recognised the superiority of General Councils, 
but did not do so in sufficiently unqualified terms to 
satisfy the stalwarts at Basel. In answer to this, ^Eneas 
wrote the first of his polemical essays, 2 the " Dialogues on 
the Authority of a General Council." Here the arguments 
in favour of the conciliar theory in general, and of the 
Council of Basel in particular, are set forth by means of a 
discussion between Nicholas of Cusa, a recent convert of the 
Papal party, and Stefano da Caccia, an anti-Papal secretary. 
Contemporaries doubtless appreciated the author s fresh 
and individual treatment of a well-worn theme, but the 
charm of the work to-day lies chiefly in the secondary 
series of dialogues, between ^Eneas himself and a cultivated 
Frenchman, Martin Lefranc, which are introduced at 
intervals in the weightier discussion. In the development 
of such congenial topics as the value of eloquence or the 
pleasures of country life, the early history of France or the 

1 Wolkan, Ep. 34- 

2 Libellus Dialogorum de generalis Concilii authontate (Kollarius, 
Analecta Monumentorum Vindobonensia, vol. ii. pp. 691-790) . 



THE COUNCIL OF BASEL 69 

explanation of a passage in Vergil, yEneas the humanist 
comes to his own. 

^Eneas s first historical work, the Commentaries on the 
Council of Basel, 1 also partakes of the nature of a political 
pamphlet. The events of which it treats are confined 
practically to the year 1439 ; it is the song of the Council s 
triumph, a psean of thanksgiving for the happy era which 
has dawned for the Church under the auspices of her new 
shepherd. In 1440 the author undoubtedly believed what 
he wrote, but disillusionment followed hard upon the heels 
of rejoicing. He soon found that a secretary to Felix v 
was in a very different position from a secretary to a Pope 
whom all Europe recognised. As the months slipped by, 
the meagre amount of business which came to the anti- 
Papal Curia, the constant difficulties as to finance, and the 
growing discontent taught him that he had made a mistake, 
that there was in fact no future for the Council of Basel 
and its adherents. 

The Council of Basel had failed, as its predecessor of 
Constance, and for the same reason once the extreme party 
gained the ascendancy its acts no longer represented the 
common mind of Christendom. The powers of Europe 
desired above all things to avoid a fresh schism. They 
felt that the Fathers were not acting fairly by Eugenius iv, 
and from 1435 onwards their interest in the Council waned. 
Those princes who still supported it were moved for the 
most part by personal hostility to Eugenius iv, or by some 
other purely political consideration. As to the general 
attitude of Europe, it is best gauged by the two great 
ecclesiastical measures of the year 1438, the Pragmatic 
Sanction of Bourges, and the declaration of German neu 
trality. Here the two chief nations of Europe expressed 
their determination to take no further part in the quarrel 
between Pope and Council. Germany was content to 
stand aside until some means could be found for the restora 
tion of unity. France took the ecclesiastical problem into 

1 Op. cit., Opera, pp. 1-61. 



70 POPE PIUS II 

her own hands, and prepared to carry out by royal authority 
such reforms as suited her needs. Thus, a few months after 
Cesarini s departure, the prospect of an effective reform of 
the Church, emanating from the Council of Basel, had ceased 
to be within the bounds of possibility. " Among the 
Bishops and Fathers at Basel," said ^Eneas when he re 
viewed the situation some years later, "we saw cooks and 
stablemen judging the affairs of the world ; who would 
credit their words and acts with the authority of law ? " * 
In his desire to make the Council thoroughly representative, 
Cesarini had organised it on the broadest possible basis, 2 
but when public opinion was alienated the democratic 
organisation defeated its own object. The deliberations 
of the " disorderly, irresponsible crowd, in which learned and 
unlearned were admitted on equal terms," had no weight 
in the eyes of Europe. They were but the manoeuvres 
of the attacking party in a struggle with which it had 
no concern. 

His own successes at Basel and the glamour cast over 
the Council by the advent of Felix v had blinded ^Eneas, 
for a time, to the true nature of the situation, and when 
at last it was brought home to him it was not so easy to 
find a way of escape. If he had no prospects in Italy in 
1438, he certainly had none after 1440, when he was 
celebrated for the fierceness of his attacks upon the Papacy. 
His chief hope lay in Germany, the neutral power which 
both Pope and Council strove to lure to their side. During 
the frequent negotiations which took place between Felix v 
and the Germans he contrived to win the favour of some 
influential members of the Imperial Court. When in 
November 1442 the Emperor Frederick in visited Basel, 
he knew enough of the gifted Italian to realise that he 
might be a useful servant. /Eneas left Basel in the 

1 Oratio adversus Avstriales (Mansi, Pius II Orationes, i. p. 231). 

2 The lower clergy were admitted on the same footing as their superiors. 
Cf. Order of 26 Sept. 1432 (Pastor, History of the Popes, vol. i. p. 290). 
^Eneas says (Fea, p. 46) : " Lex tamen his erat, ne quenquam in dignitate 
constitutum nisi criminosum atque infamem repellerent." 



THE COUNCIL OF BASEL 71 

Emperor s train, to begin life anew as a secretary in the 
Imperial Chancery at Vienna. 

^Eneas s six years sojourn at Basel had added greatly 
to his experience of life. At Siena every one was ready to 
encourage the promising student and to praise his talents. 
Here he had to make his mark amid striving rivals, and to 
face the struggle for existence in an overcrowded market. 
He learned, too, to adapt himself to the cosmopolitan 
company in which he lived and worked. He came in 
contact with scholars and politicians of every shade of 
opinion, and from them he gathered, not only the details 
of European politics, but much valuable material for the 
study of human nature. Cesarini occupied a place apart 
in his esteem, but he also had a profound admiration for 
the intrepid Cardinal of Aries, and besides these two 
great leaders there were many remarkable men who had 
their share in the proceedings at Basel. Among them was 
the mystic philosopher, Nicholas of Cusa, whose work on 
Catholic unity was regarded as one of the chief weapons 
of the conciliar movement, but who, like his master Cesarini, 
went over to the side of the Papacy after the crisis of 1437. 
^Eneas, as we have seen, made Cusa one of the figures in 
his Dialogues, and his connection with him did not end 
here. John of Segovia, the patient scholar and historian 
of the Council, who remained at Basel to the last ; the 
learned Neapolitan jurist, Lodovico Pontano, whom ^Eneas 
attended on his death-bed ; the Spaniard, Juan de Tor- 
quemada, most gifted and unbending of theologians ; 
Ambrogio Traversari, the Papal envoy, a cultured disciple 
of humanism these and other eminent men crossed 
^Eneas s path at Basel. Among the lesser company of 
lawyers and secretaries he had many friends. Cesarini s 
steward, the Cardinal of Aries s secretary, a German professor 
and a French scholar were among his intimates, and when 
some of these chosen comrades met for supper the talk 
ranged over the whole field of politics and letters. The 
leading men of Europe were discussed from the point of 



72 POPE PIUS II 

view of their subordinates, and their vices and virtues 
were laid bare before the tribunal of the rising generation. 
It was a stirring life, centring round a gathering that was 
in itself half Parliament, half picnic, and ^Eneas lived it to 
the full. He left Basel with a growing contempt for 
politics, ecclesiastical and secular, and a profound belief 
in the brilliant future which lay before the votaries of 
humanism. In politics he realised, with perhaps exagger 
ated clearness, the importance of small things. He saw 
personal enmities and ambitions influencing men s attitude 
towards the gravest questions of the day ; in everything 
he felt the overwhelming power of money. The prevailing 
atmosphere was too much both for his sensitiveness to 
impression and his inherent superficiality. His outlook 
on life grew cynical, while personal ambition became the 
ruling motive of his political career. Politics, in fact, 
was a game which he could play with the best, being 
provided with what seemed the one really effective weapon 
of the day the new learning. At Basel the control of 
the situation lay with those who could give expression to 
their knowledge in a persuasive form. Men who, in ^Eneas s 
happy phrase, possessed " more soul than eloquence " 
were at a hopeless disadvantage. Side by side with his 
realisation of the political value of humanism went his 
increasing joy in letters for their own sake. As the impulse 
to express himself grew daily more insistent, ^Eneas learned 
that his true vocation was literary rather than political. 
Politics were a matter of daily bread, but his heart lay in 
" the idle and unrewarded pursuits of poetry, rhetoric, and 
history." 



CHAPTER IV 
THE IMPERIAL CHANCERY 

71 ^ NEAS S acquaintance with his Imperial master 
/ I 4 began in a manner after his own heart. In the 

J[ jL J summerof 1442 heattended the Dietof Frankfort 

as a member of the deputation from Basel, and here, on 
27 July, he knelt before the Emperor to receive the classic 
laurel wreath, the reward of the poets of antiquity. The 
diploma which conferred this honour upon him is a master 
piece of high-sounding phraseology : " We being desirous 
of following the glorious example of our ancestors who 
were wont to crown illustrious poets on the Capitol . . . 
have turned the eyes of our mind upon the distinguished 
and renowned JEne&s Silvius Piccolomini of Siena, a 
loyal servant of the Holy Empire and of ourselves, of 
whose profound learning, honourable character, and most 
excellent gifts of nature we have had trustworthy experi 
ence. . . . We give thanks to God Almighty that talents 
similar to those of the ancients are not denied to our age. 
.... With our own hands we adorn our ^Eneas with the 
ever verdant laurel leaves, in order that his name and 
honour may never cease to flourish, and that his shining 
example may evoke in others like talents and learning." 1 
Although jEneas said, in after years, that he had only allowed 
himself to be crowned in order to teach the uncultured 
Austrians the respect due to poetry, he was obviously 
entranced with the distinction. He was as vain as most 

1 Chmel, Regesta Chronologico - Diplomatico Friderici III, Anghang, 
p. xxix. 

73 



74 POPE PIUS II 

humanists, and delighted in the outward trappings of 
glory, while the laurel wreath made him one, not only 
with the poets and orators of antiquity but with Petrarch, 
the apostle of humanism, who had been crowned in Rome 
just over a hundred years before. " Do not be surprised 
at seeing me sign myself poet/ " he wrote to the Arch 
bishop of Milan, " for thus has Caesar willed me to be. 
If the Archpresbyter of Pavia and Isidore de Rosate 
and all that crowd of rascals arrogate to themselves the 
name of jurisconsult, why should I be ashamed to assume 
the title of poet ? It is permitted to me to share the 
folly of others, especially as this honour will promote 
greater attention to learning." 1 

This promising beginning made ^Eneas enter upon his 
new duties in the most buoyant spirits. He had obtained 
his post, it seemed to him, on the strength of his literary 
reputation, and he pictured for himself a brilliant future 
as the Court humanist of Frederick in, a centre of light 
and learning among the uncultivated but admiring Germans. 
His chief hope of advancement lay in the Chancellor, 
Kaspar Schlick, a man of force and ability who had stood 
high in the confidence of three successive Emperors. The 
Chancellor s mother was Italian, and during the Emperor 
Sigismund s visit to Siena he had lodged with ^Eneas s 
relations, Niccolo Lolli and his family. Thus Schlick was 
from the first prepared to befriend the new Italian secretary, 
and to him ^Eneas s earliest efforts in humanist panegyric 
were addressed. In December 1442, on his return to the 
Court after a temporary absence, he was greeted by a poem 
of ^Eneas s composition, 2 and this was followed by a 
neatly turned essay, bristling with classical allusions, on 
the diversity of human tastes and ambitions. 3 At the same 

1 ^Eneas Silvius to Francesco Pizzolpasso, 5 Dec. 1442 (Wolkan, Bp. 41 ; 
Opera, Ep. 29, and elsewhere). Isidore was the Milanese envoy who had 
broken down in his oration at the Council of Basel. Cf. p. 57, above. 

2 ^Eneas Silvius to Kaspar Schlick, 23 Dec. 1442 (Wolkan, Ep. 42 ; 
Voigt, Die Briefe des Aeneas Sylvius, No. 12). 

3 Wolkan, Ep. 43 ; Opera, Ep. 101, and elsewhere. 




.AENEAS SILVIUS RECEIVES THE POETS CROWN FROM FREDERICK in 



FROM THE FKKSCO UY PINTOKICCHIO 
PiccoZomitti I.ibrarv. Sioia 



THE IMPERIAL CHANCERY 75 

time ^Eneas embarked upon a more serious work, a political 
tract known as the Pentalogus, which takes the form of a 
discussion on the politics of the day between five persons 
the Emperor, the Chancellor, the Bishops of Freisingen 
and Chiemsee, and the author himself. 1 The moral of the 
Pentalogus is the value of humanist education as a political 
asset, and more especially the advantages which would 
accrue to Frederick in if he would consent to pursue the 
study of the classics under the guidance of ^Eneas Silvius. 
^Eneas s transference to Vienna also made it possible 
for him to renew his intercourse with various Italian 
friends, of whom he had heard little or nothing during the 
last years at Basel. The Archbishop of Milan wrote to 
congratulate him on having found a post in which he could 
do much for the welfare of both Church and State, while 
he promised to do his best to reinstate ^Eneas in his lost 
provostship. 2 Cesarini, too, wrote a warm letter, only 
regretting that his " dearest J^neas " was not back in 
Italy, and begging him not to forget " the friendship and 
goodwill that ever existed between us." 3 Thus on all 
sides our hero s prospects seemed bright, and a letter to 
one of his many friends reflects his cheerful frame of mind : 
" Do not be surprised at hearing of me in these parts, for 
I have been called by the King s Majesty to the office of 
secretary ; I have also been adorned with the title of poet 
laureate, of which name I am far from worthy ; nevertheless, 
what the King gave could not be refused. You will find 
me, therefore, with this Prince, driven here by the storms 
wilich rage in the Church ; I rejoice to have found a safe 
haven where I may live henceforth, far from the strife of 
prelates." 

1 Cf. Pez, Thes. anec. nov., vol. iv. pt. 3, p. 736, for Pentalogus. 

2 Francesco Pizzolpasso to /Eneas Silvius, 4 Feb. 1443 (Wolkan, Ep. 
46 ; Opera, Ep. 180, etc.). 

3 Giuliano Cesarini to /Eneas Silvius, Budapest, c. Feb. 1443 (Wolkan, 
Ep. 45 ; Opera, Ep. i, etc.). 

4 /Eneas Silvius to Giovanni Campisio, May 1443 (Wolkan, Ep. 55; 
Opera, Ep. 32, etc.). 



76 POPE PIUS II 

There was, however, another side to the picture. In the 
Imperial Chancery, ^Eneas, at the age of thirty-seven, found 
himself at the bottom of the ladder. He had to start his 
career afresh with everything against him, conscious that 
he was disliked and despised by his fellow-secretaries, and 
that his very presence was regarded in the light of an in 
trusion. Few of the subordinate officials in the Chancery 
drew a fixed salary ; they received only their board and 
lodging and a commission upon the documents which they 
drafted. Thus every addition to their number made one 
more to share the scanty profits, and if the intruder were a 
foreigner his coming was doubly resented. During the 
early days of his sojourn at the Imperial Court ^Eneas was 
subjected to every form of petty persecution. " He was 
esteemed the last of all ; he had the worst bed and the worst 
place at table ; he was hated, mocked at, and treated as an 
enemy." l He had most to endure during the Chancellor s 
absence, when the control of the Chancery fell to one Wilhelm 
Taz, " a Bavarian and an enemy of the Italian name who 
tormented ^Eneas in many subtle ways." 2 The burden 
of his lot pressed heavily upon the sensitive Italian, and 
the remembrance of what he himself suffered inspires the 
pages of his tract upon the Miseries of Courtiers, one of 
the most popular and widely read of his works. 3 There 
are few more realistic pictures of the seamy side of Court- 
life than that set forth in De Curialium Miseriis. It 
describes the German Court from the point of view of 
an Italian of the middle classes, revealing at every turn 
both the marked superiority of Italian civilisation and also 
the fastidious, over-sensitive nature of the author. The 
slovenly, irregular meals were among ^Eneas s daily trials. 
The dirty wooden bowl handed round from mouth to mouth 
disgusted him as much as the poor quality of the wine which 
it contained. The sight of the tablecloth soiled, sticky, 

1 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 9. 2 Loc. tit. 

3 vEneas Silvius to Johann von Eich, 30 Nov. 1444, De Curialium 
Miseriis (Wolkan, Ep. 166 ; Opera, etc.). 



THE IMPERIAL CHANCERY 77 

and full of holes took away what appetite he could muster 
for the cold, or twice-cooked, joints, the rancid butter, 
the cheese alive with vermin and harder than any stone, 
the eggs that seemed about to become chickens, and the 
fish or vegetables stewed in oil taken from the lamps, and 
smelling strong enough to slay a serpent. He resented 
having to eat black bread, not because it was cheaper than 
white, but because the Germans preferred it. He suffered 
in spirit at being thought troublesome because he asked 
for salt, or vinegar, or water when the servants had neglected 
to put it on the table, or at the sight of a dainty dish from 
the royal table being sent down to a more favoured com 
panion. Against all this squalor he set the picture of citizen- 
life in Siena, where " in the pleasant company of wife and 
sweet children, men eat their chaste and frugal meal." 
Even the peasant among his flocks at Corsignano, dining 
off chestnuts, milk, and ripe apples, washed down by water 
from the running stream, was better off than the Emperor s 
wretched secretary. As for the trials of the night, they 
were worse than those of the day. Sometimes some ten 
or twenty of the minor officials shared a common sleeping- 
room. One man would come in drunk, another would throw 
his boots off, another would snore, there would never be 
a moment s quiet until after midnight. Even his bed, with 
its damp, dirty linen, must be shared with some distasteful 
companion. Night and day, there was never solitude for 
the miserable courtier ; he lived in a crowd, often idle but 
never at leisure. " If you have found some table where 
you can read or write, at once some one comes and disturbs 
you ; and if others leave you in peace, the steward will be 
there making up his accounts and jingling his money. 
Nowhere is there a quiet corner in which you can say with 
Scipio, I am never less lonely than when I am alone. 

To the citizen of an Italian Republic the atmosphere 
of a Court seemed stifling and highly artificial. Flattery 
usurped the place of truth, free discussion was impossible ; 
the courtier must be all things to all men, and must twist 



78 POPE PIUS II 

and turn his natural disposition to suit a prince s whim. 
Although ^Eneas had the instincts of a courtier and could 
fawn and flatter with the best, he was at bottom inde 
pendent. His soul rebelled when his tongue was most 
submissive, and he despised himself for his own success. 
" It is hard to curb ambition, to restrain avarice, to sub 
jugate envy, to keep back anger, and to control lust when 
you always dwell in the midst of them." His conclusion 
that it is impossible for anybody to live a good life at Court 
is the confession of one whose surroundings have proved 
too strong for him, and who is letting himself be dragged 
below his own standards. 

Dogged determination not to give in alone enabled him 
to live through these dreary days. "He put back his 
ears like the unwilling ass when it receives a heavier burden 
upon its back " 1 is his own graphic description of his 
behaviour. Pride and ambition alike forbade him to accept 
defeat, so he set his teeth and prepared to await the dawning 
of a happier day. 

Even harder to bear than the slights and discomforts 
of his daily existence was the knowledge that he had been 
mistaken as to the value which his new masters placed 
upon his literary gifts. Humanism, as ^Eneas understood 
it, was almost non-existent in Germany, and the truisms 
of Italy were still dangerous and new-fangled doctrines 
north of the Alps. His passionate love of literature for its 
own sake called forth no sympathy among a nation that 
regarded the study of poetry as useless, if not actually 
immoral. His naive delight in all that savoured of anti 
quity, his diligent pursuit of the arts of style and speech, 
were simply not appreciated by a people who set no store 
by the graces and refinements of life. Judged by Italian 
standards, Frederick in was anything but satisfactory as 
a patron of learning. His tastes were those of a simple 
and somewhat indolent country gentleman, and literary 
pursuits were only one degree less wearisome to him than 

* Qommentwii, lib. i. p. 9, 



THE IMPERIAL CHANCERY 79 

politics. While huntsman and groom, cook and butler 
were admitted freely to the Imperial presence, the would- 
be Court humanist never saw his master except in public. 
Frederick waded through the Pentalogus with consider 
able difficulty, and did not remind the author of his promise 
to dedicate other works to him in the future. As to the 
Chancellor, he was wholly a politician, immersed in public 
business, and regarding the new learning solely from the 
point of view of its practical value in the world of 
affairs. 1 

From first to last the atmosphere of Germany was 
quite uncongenial to ^Eneas. Latin to his finger-tips, he 
hated the Teutons, their climate, their manners and their 
habits of mind, and contact with them seemed to bring out 
all that was worst in his nature. During the first years of 
his exile he sought relief from his misery in unrestrained 
vice, yet the very debaucheries which they shared together 
only accentuated the differences between him and his 
companions. The gluttony and drunkenness of the Ger 
mans disgusted him, and their sordid revels bore but faint 
resemblance to the flower-bedecked love-feasts of Siena. 
The Germans, for their part, could not understand ^Eneas, 
and the classical glamour with which he clothed his licen 
tiousness seemed to them a mere refinement of wickedness. 
In his letters of this period there is a note of home-sickness, 
a cry of yearning for " the soft and pleasant air of Italy . . . 
where spring is all but perpetual and the remaining months 
are summer," 2 and even when success had crowned his 
struggles Italy was still the land of his desire. " When, 
my Giovanni, shall I see you again," he wrote to a friend in 

1 He was, however, fully alive to the value of eloquence in the sphere 
of politics. Dr. Wolkan (Die Briefe des Eneas Silvius) cites the drafts of 
letters prepared by ^neas and corrected by Schlick which he has found 
in the Vienese Archives, and points out that the alterations are almost 
invariably corrections of fact and not of style. Chmel (Materialen, i. 116) 
has a letter written by Schlick with the marginal note, " Domine Enea, 
appetis hoc ornatius, effectu non mutato " ("You may draft this more 
elegantly, but do not alter the sense "). 

2 Libellus Dialogorum (Kollar, p. 703). 



8o POPE PIUS II 

Rome in I445, 1 " when shall I return to my home ? . . . 
Here I have fixed my abode, and here I must remain. 
Here I must live and die, far from relations, friends, acquaint 
ances, cut off from sweet intercourse with my friends. 
Would that I had never seen Basel ! Then I might have 
died in my own country, I might have lain on the bosom of 
my parents. ... If the fates had not led me to Basel, I 
might have obtained some honourable post in the Roman 
Curia, where I should be living in the midst of friends. 
I have great cause to hate Basel, where I spent so much 
time in vain. ... It is true that I am valued here beyond 
my deserts and enjoy many advantages. Yet what are 
they without companions ? But, you ask, have you no 
companions ? Good men and true are indeed to be found 
here, but they are not lovers of letters, they do not delight 
in the things that delight me." 

^Eneas regarded his life in Germany as so many years 
spent in exile, nevertheless he rose during this period from 
obscurity to fame. Kaspar Schlick might not appreciate 
literary accomplishments, but he was keenly alive to the 
value of a good servant, and he soon realised that the Italian 
secretary was peculiarly adapted to his requirements. In 
the course of his wanderings ^Eneas had made many friends, 
and he took care never to lose sight of anyone who might 
be useful to him on some future occasion. On leaving 
Basel he had carefully refrained from severing his connection 
with the Council, and he was in active correspondence with 
friends there, as well as with others at the Roman Curia. 
A man who reckoned half the secretaries of Europe among 
his intimates was invaluable as a political agent. So 
Schlick discovered in the course of the year 1443, when his 
energies were directed towards establishing his brother 
Heinrich in the rich bishopric of Freisingen, made vacant 
by the death of ^Eneas s former master, Nicodemo della 
Scala. Loyalty to the principle of German neutrality 

1 ^Eneas Silvius to Giovanni Campisio, Sept. 1445 (Wolkan, Ep. 185 ; 
also in Voigt, Ep. 146). 



THE IMPERIAL CHANCERY 81 

took the form of entire readiness to accept favours from 
whichever quarter they could be obtained, and within a 
few days of the Bishop s death letters had been dispatched, 
both to Rome and to Basel, asking that the vacant see 
might be given to Heinrich Schlick. 1 But meanwhile the 
Chapter of Freisingen elected Johann Griinwalder, one of 
Felix v s cardinals, and the struggle turned on whether 
Basel or Rome could be induced to reverse the Chapter s 
choice. For the next nine months ^Eneas was active in 
his master s cause. He wrote to Louis d Allemand begging 
him not to refuse the request. The position of the Council, 
he urged, would be immeasurably strengthened if the all- 
powerful Chancellor became its debtor. 2 On the other 
hand, Giovanni Campisio reported progress from Rome, 
and promised that his master, the Archbishop of Taranto, 
would use his influence in Schlick s favour. 3 In the midst of 
the negotiations the Chancellor was obliged to leave the 
Court, on business, and to ^Eneas fell the whole conduct 
of the affair, with the additional responsibility of keeping 
Schlick informed of all that happened. On n December 
he wrote to advise the Chancellor s prompt return. 4 " The 
King is most anxious to have you back," he declared, " and 
you will be able to ask for what you want with the greatest 
effect, and to settle the matter of the Freisingen bishopric 
at your will." Nothing fresh has arrived from Rome, but 
he is hopeful as to the Pope s intentions. From Basel he 
fears there is little to be obtained, " for there the will of the 
multitude prevails." 

^Eneas s surmises proved correct. While the Council 
confirmed the capitular election, Eugenius iv nominated 
Heinrich Schlick. The final stage of the struggle took 

1 Cf. Wolkan, vol. ii. epp. xxx.-xxxii. and xxxviii. (letters written 
by jEneas in the Chancellor s name). 

2 ^Eneas Silvius to Cardinal Louis d Allemand, c. 23 Sept. 1443 
(Wolkan, Ep. 80 ; Opera, Ep. 183, and elsewhere). 

3 Giovanni Campisio, 13 Nov. 1443 (Wolkan, Ep.95; Opera, Ep. 169, etc.). 
4 ^neas Silvius to Kaspar Schlick, n Dec. 1443 (Wolkan, Ep. 103 ; 

Voigt, Ep. 75). 
6 



82 POPE PIUS II 

place at Neustadt, where it fell to Frederick in to decide 
which of the two candidates he should invest with the 
temporalities of the see. Griinwalder pleaded his cause 
before the Emperor in person, while Chancellor Schlick 
delivered an eloquent oration, composed for him by ^Eneas, 
in support of his brother. It was like the contest between 
Ajax and Ulysses, 1 ^Eneas told Campisio, and Ulysses 
(Schlick) it was who bore off the prize. Moreover, by the 
time that Heinrich Schlick had taken possession of his 
bishopric, ^Eneas s worst days at the Imperial Court were 
over. In the course of these protracted negotiations he 
had risen from the position of a servant to that of the 
Chancellor s confidential friend. He had exchanged the 
horrors of the common meals for a place at the Chancellor s 
" well appointed table." He received a fixed salary direct 
from his master, and did not even have to give a commission 
to the treasurer. During Schlick s absences it was no 
longer Wilhelm Taz but the despised Italian who had the 
management of the Chancery, and " he who had once 
trampled upon ^neas was now obliged to reverence him. 
. . . Thus all may know that humility can easily be raised 
up, while pride can yet more easily be cast down." 2 

The episode of the Freisingen bishopric was of consider 
able political importance. The fact that Rome had granted 
the favour, which Basel refused, definitely inclined Schlick 
and ^Eneas to the side of the Papacy, at a time when events 
were hurrying the reluctant Emperor towards some settle 
ment of the ecclesiastical problem. 

German neutrality was at best a temporary expedient, 
yet any attempt at a more permanent solution was com 
plicated by the internal politics of the Empire by the 
unending struggle between the two principles of unity and 
separatism, Imperial control and territorial independence, 
which make up German history at this period. Frederick in, 

1 jEneas Silvius to Campisio, 8 June 1441 (Wolkan, Ep. 148 ; Voigt, 
Ep. 115). 

3 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 9. 



THE IMPERIAL CHANCERY 83 

for all his indolence, had a strong feeling that it was in 
cumbent on him, as Emperor, to make at least an effort to 
end the schism. His ideas did not go beyond the time- 
honoured scheme for a fresh General Council, summoned 
by himself, which all Europe would recognise, and with this 
end in view ^Eneas was employed, during the summer of 
1443, in drafting letters to the chief European rulers, inviting 
their co-operation in the Emperor s design. The same 
scheme was to be laid before the princes of the Empire 
when they met at the Diet of Niirnberg in August 1444. 
But they, meanwhile, had taken the matter into their own 
hands. German neutrality served the purposes of the 
great territorial princes remarkably well, and they had no 
desire to end a condition of affairs so favourable to their 
separatist interests. In every ecclesiastical question that 
arose they could play off one Pope against another, and so 
strengthen their own control over the Churches in their 
dominions. It was undoubtedly the desire to prolong the 
present situation which prompted a new development in 
ecclesiastical politics in 1443 namely, a League of Imperial 
Electors in favour of Felix v. European opinion, so far 
as it existed, was decidedly against the Council of Basel, 
and in rallying to the support of the anti-Pope the German 
princes knew well enough that they could not end the 
schism. Yet they might conceivably be able to readjust 
the balance in Felix s favour, thus strengthening their 
own independence, and at the same time depriving the 
Emperor of the prestige which would accrue to him from 
the restoration of unity. 

Such was the situation in Germany at the opening of 
the Diet of Niirnberg, which the Emperor attended in person, 
and where ^Eneas figured in an official capacity as one of 
the four Commissioners appointed to deal with the ecclesi 
astical question. As might be supposed, the Diet only 
made plain the conflicting interests of Emperor and Electors. 
It was clear that a nation divided against herself could do 
little to restore unity to the Church. Frederick s proposals 



84 POPE PIUS II 

for the summons of a fresh Council were rejected with 
contempt, and from henceforth each party acted separately. 
The Emperor embarked on independent negotiations with 
the rival Popes, which resulted shortly in his making his 
peace with Rome. The Electoral League continued to 
exercise a spasmodic activity, and the ecclesiastical history 
of the next few years turns upon the gradual undermining 
of its schemes by the skilful diplomacy of ^Eneas Silvius. 
An attempt is sometimes made to invest the action of the 
princes with the halo of patriotism, and y?Eneas is repre 
sented as the wily ultramontane who frustrated an honest 
effort to reform the German Church on national lines. 
If there had been any genuine national movement in 
Germany the reproach would be well deserved, but the 
success of ^Eneas s diplomacy came from his perception 
that these combinations of Electors and princes were made 
for selfish ends. Patriotic motives served as a pretext, 
but the true strength of the Electoral League lay in the 
territorial ambitions of its individual members. 

At the time of the Diet of Niirnberg, ^Eneas s official 
attitude towards the ecclesiastical question was that which 
behoved a servant of the Emperor, namely, loyal adherence 
to the principle of neutrality. But his opinions had under 
gone considerable modification in the course of his sojourn 
at the Imperial Court, and he now only awaited the oppor 
tunity to declare himself in his true colours. The process 
of transformation, which turned a secretary of the anti- 
Pope into a Papal agent, may be traced in his corre 
spondence during the years 1443 and 1444. In April 1443, 
^Eneas so far held to his former opinions as to write a tract 
on the supreme authority of General Councils. 1 His tone 
is tentative throughout, and he confines his arguments to 
general grounds, carefully abstaining from any mention of 
the Council of Basel, but there is nothing in the tract to 
imply a radical change of position. Throughout the year 

1 Ericas Silvius to Hartung von Kappel (Wolkan, Ep. 47 ; also in 
Kollar). 



THE IMPERIAL CHANCERY 85 

he remained in close touch with his friends at Basel, writing 
to them almost in the capacity of an agent of the Council 
at the Imperial Court. He reports, for example, on the 
behaviour of the Council s representative, the Patriarch of 
Aquileia, and warns d Allemand that he is not at all equal 
to his work. 1 He complains to one of his friends that, in 
spite of the great services Which he has rendered and is still 
rendering to Felix v, he is neglected and forgotten. " I 
see your intentions and your thoughts/ he writes; "because 
you know that I am loyal and unchanging you turn your 
attention to others whose faith is wavering. You provide 
for them lest they should go over to the enemy, but no one 
considers him who is faithful and will ever remain so. ... 
The least you can do is to see that some benefice is given 
to me, who have served you so long." 2 This letter was 
written in October 1443. In April of the following year 
^Eneas gave a sure proof that his boasted loyalty to Basel 
was at an end he tried to sell his an ti- Papal secretary 
ship. 3 The cause of this sudden change must be sought in 
the events of the intervening months, that is, in the 
negotiations with regard to the Freisingen bishopric, and 
also in the answers which Frederick in received to his pro 
posal for the summons of a new Council. These, it would 
appear, finally convinced ^Eneas that the weight of 
European opinion was on the side of Eugenius iv and that 
his cause must ultimately triumph. If this were so, the 
summons of a new Council would only increase the con 
fusion ; the surest way of ending the schism would be to 
work for the surrender of German neutrality and the 
return of the Empire to the Roman obedience. 

If peace were to be restored to the Church by means of a 

1 .Eneas Silvius to Louis d Allemand, Oct. 1443 (Wolkan, Ep. 86; 
Voigt, Ep. 50). 

a yEneas Silvius to a friend in Basel (Wolkan, Ep. 81 ; Voigt, Ep. 51). 

3 .Eneas Silvius to Giovanni Peregallo, 18 April 1444 (Wolkan, Ep. 
136 ; Opera, Ep. 61, etc.) : " Scriptorie officium, quod illic habeo, si 
emptorem reperit, pretium mihi rescribe, ut si fieri potest, utiliter illo 
me levem, quia non sum ejus animi, ut ad vos redeam." 



86 POPE PIUS II 

reconciliation between Pope and Emperor, ^Eneas was ob 
viously the right person to act as mediator. The Freisingen 
episode had already indicated that his true vocation was to 
serve as a connecting link between Germany and Italy, 
and the time was now fast approaching when he could use 
his advantages upon a larger scale. As early as November 
1443, Piero da Noceto (now a secretary in the Roman 
Curia and married to a fair Florentine lady who was endowed 
with every gift save riches), wrote a pathetic appeal to his 
old friend to use his influence for the promotion of peace 
between Pope and Emperor. " Believe me, my sweetest 
^Eneas," he wrote, "my earnings nowadays are barely 
enough to provide the necessities of existence ; you know 
the ups and downs of the Curia. But if only the Church 
were at peace and the Holy Father had the obedience of 
all, I should be able to make a living out of my post." x 
At the time ^Eneas could only answer that he was the 
servant of a neutral Prince and must write and speak as 
his master desired. 2 But in May 1444 he is writing to 
Cesarini from the point of view of one whose chief obj ect 
is to end the neutrality of Germany. " The neutrality 
will be difficult to abolish," he declares, " because it is 
useful to many. This new device is popular because no 
one in possession of an ecclesiastical office, whether right 
fully or wrongfully, can be deprived of it, and the Bishops 
can bestow benefices at their pleasure. It is not easy to 
snatch the prey from the wolf s mouth." 3 It was, indeed, 
no easy task upon which ^neas was about to embark. 
As well as the opposition of the Electoral League he had to 
reckon with the more insidious obstacle of the Emperor s 
apathy. The failure of the Diet of Niirnberg, however, 
made it possible to try the experiment, and the first step 

1 Piero da Noceto to /Eneas Silvius, 18 Nov. 1443 (Wolkan, Ep. 97 ; 
Opera, Ep. 170, etc.). 

2 jEneas Silvius to Noceto, 16 Jan. 1444 (Wolkan, Ep. 119; Opera, 
Ep. 45, etc.). 

3 ^Eneas Silvius to Cesarini, 28 May 1444 (Wolkan, Ep. 142 ; Opera, 
Ep. 65, etc.). 



THE IMPERIAL CHANCERY 87 

was taken when Frederick in agreed to send a deputation 
to Rome with ^Eneas as its principal member. The 
ostensible object of the embassy was to win the Pope s 
assent to the proposal for a new Council, but its real im 
portance lay in the re-establishment of personal relations 
between the Emperor and Eugenius iv. Thus the victim 
of the " Basel heresy " would obtain his own forgiveness as 
the representative of a greater penitent. ^Eneas would 
see Italy again, and the mistakes of the past would be 
blotted out. " I wish you and my mother to know that I 
am in excellent health and in daily expectation of improve 
ment in my fortunes," he wrote to Silvio Piccolomini in 
November 1444. " I pray you to have good hope, for 
if God continues to favour me as He has now begun 
to do, I may yet be an honour to you and to our 
family." l 

Early in the year 1445 2 ^Eneas set out on his mission, 
in the highest spirits. The road to Rome led him through 
Siena, and he was able to spend a few days with his relations, 
whom he had not seen for eleven years. Delighted as the 
Piccolomini were to see him again, they were filled with 
alarm at the thought of his approaching interview with 
Eugenius. Mindful of all that he had spoken and written 
at Basel, they besought him to consider the Pope s revenge 
ful disposition and to turn back before it was too late. But 
^Eneas knew well enough that the services which he could 
render to the Pope in his present position were sufficient 
to outweigh any temptation to vengeance, and he assured 
his friends that they need not fear. At the same time he 
could not altogether resist the pleasure of playing the martyr ; 
whatever the risk, he told them, he had no choice but to 
obey the Emperor. 3 

His reception in Rome left nothing to be desired. Piero 

1 ^Eneas Silvius to his father, 19 Nov. 1444 (Wolkan, Ep. 162 ; Voigt, 
Ep. 130). 

2 He left Rome on his return journey i April 1445 (cf. Wolkan. 
Ep. 169). 

3 Fea, p. 88. 



88 POPE PIUS II 

da Noceto, Giovanni Campisio, and a host of other friends 
welcomed him with open arms, while two Cardinals were 
appointed to absolve him from the ecclesiastical censures in 
curred at Basel, as a prelude to his admission into the Pope s 
presence. Finally, at the feet of Pope Eugenius, the newly 
restored penitent made his apologia. " Holy Father, 
before I expound my mission from the Emperor, I will say 
a few words about myself. I know that much evil has 
come to your ears concerning me, and those who censured 
me spoke the truth. I do not deny all that I spoke, wrote, 
and did at Basel, although my mind was not set on injuring 
you but on the service of the Church. I erred, and no one 
can deny it, but my companions in error were many and 
famous. I followed Cardinal Cesarini, the Archbishop 
of Palermo, and the apostolic notary Lodovico Pontano, 
lights of the legal profession and teachers of the truth, not 
to mention the Universities and schools in all parts of the 
world who pronounced judgment against you. In such 
company who would not have erred ? When I discovered 
the error of Basel, I confess that I did not flee to you at 
once. Fearful of falling from Scylla into Charybdis, I 
betook myself to the neutral party, in order not to go from 
one extreme to the other without mature deliberation. I 
remained with the Emperor for three years, and the dis 
putes which I heard between your Legates and those of the 
Council convinced me that truth was on your side. There 
fore, when the Emperor bade me present myself before 
your Holiness, I obeyed willingly, hoping that thus I 
might regain your favour. To-day I stand in your 
presence, and plead forgiveness because I sinned in 
ignorance. And now I will turn to the affairs of the 
Emperor." 1 

Eugenius received his penitent graciously. " We know 
that you erred with many," he replied, " and to those who 
confess their faults we cannot refuse pardon. The Church 
is a loving mother, who remembers the unacknowledged 

1 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 10. 



THE IMPERIAL CHANCERY 89 

sin but forgets that which is freely confessed. Now that 
you hold the truth, take care never to let it go, and strive 
by good works to merit Divine favour. You live in a land 
where you may champion the truth and serve the Church. 
We will not remember former injuries, and from henceforth 
we will love you well if you walk well." l It is obvious that 
^Eneas was thoroughly enjoying himself. The dramatic 
character of his interview pleased his artistic instincts, 
and his confession was near enough to the truth for him 
to believe it absolutely, in the enthusiasm of the moment. 
He left the Pope s presence ready to make the most of the 
precious days in Rome, and to throw himself into the 
pleasant festivities which friends and patrons were preparing 
in his honour. 

Amid the general cordiality which marked his reception 
he met with one rebuff. One day, at the house of Cardinal 
Scarampo, he chanced to see his old acquaintance Tom- 
maso Parentucelli, once steward of Cardinal Albergata s 
household and now Bishop of Bologna. The relations be 
tween steward and secretary had probably been strained at 
times, but ^Eneas was never inclined to bear malice, and 
he advanced with outstretched hands to greet the Bishop. 
He, however, promptly walked in another direction, and 
would make no response to ^Eneas s advances. Thereupon 
our friend s pride was stung, " and he determined not to 
humiliate himself again before a man who scorned him. 
Whenever he met Tommaso afterwards, he gave him no 
salutation, and pretended not to see him, lest he should be 
insulted afresh. But his mind was ignorant of the future," 
adds this unblushing opportunist ; " if ^Eneas had known 
that he was dealing with a future Pope, he would have 
suffered all things." 2 

From the point of view of politics, the mission to Rome 
achieved its main object. Pope and Emperor were com 
pletely reconciled, and within a year of our hero s interview 
with Eugenius iv the alliance was cemented in docu- 
1 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 10. 2 Fea, p. 89. 



go POPE PIUS II 

mentary form. ^Eneas had not long been back in Germany 
when Cardinal Carvajal and Tommaso Parentucelli arrived 
at the Imperial Court as Papal envoys. Their labours 
throughout the summer bore fruit in the Papal Bulls of 
February 1446, in which Eugenius granted to his new ally 
considerable rights of ecclesiastical patronage in the Haps- 
burg dominions. 1 He also agreed to pay him 221,000 ducats, 
and promised various other favours in the event of Fred 
erick ill s coming to Italy to seek the Imperial Crown. 2 Yet 
the fact that the Pope had been able to buy the support of 
the Emperor did not by any means involve the surrender 
of German neutrality. Frederick himself was definitely 
committed to the side of Rome, but meanwhile the mem 
bers of the Electoral League had roused themselves to a 
tardy patriotism, and were working for the summons of 
an " assembly of the German Church or a national Council " 
to deal with the ecclesiastical question as if it were still 
entirely open. 3 To make matters worse, the Pope had 
practically refused to entertain the proposal for a fresh 
Council made to him by ^Eneas on the Emperor s behalf. 
This refusal, as ^Eneas himself recognised, undermined 
the sole basis on which Emperor and Electors could unite. 
" If my mission to Rome had ended differently," he wrote, 
shortly after his return, " it would be far easier for every 
one to act in unison. As it is, I see a great eagle being torn 
in pieces, and I fear that there will be a plentiful fall of 
feathers." 4 Four months later he wrote in the same 
strain. " The Emperor hates the neutrality and would 
willingly renounce it, if the princes would agree. . . . But 
the Germans, as you know, are not easily brought to a 

1 The Bulls are given in Chmel, Materialen zur osterveichischen 
Geschichte, i. Nos. 72-4. Cf. also Voigt, vol. i. p. 347 ; and Creighton, 
vol. iii. pp. 72-4. 

2 Cf. Gregorius Heimburg to the Archbishop of Gran Prag, 3 July 
1466, for this information. The letter is given in Voigt, vol. i. Ap 
pendix II. 

3 Cf. Creighton, vol. iii. p. 71 ; and Voigt, vol. i. p. 345. 

4 yEneas Silvius to Giovanni Campisio, 21 May 1445 (Wolkan, Ep. 170 ; 
also Voigt, Ep. 138). 



THE IMPERIAL CHANCERY 91 

conclusion, and once having reached it they are still harder 
to move from it." 1 

As regards ^Eneas s personal share in the negotiations, 
the next important stage was reached in the spring of 1446, 
when the Emperor received what was practically the 
ultimatum of the Electors on the ecclesiastical question. 
In February of this year Eugenius felt himself strong 
enough to strike directly at his foes in Germany, and he 
issued a Bull of deposition against two of the ecclesiastical 
Electors the Archbishops of Trier and Cologne. The 
cry of danger to Electoral privileges stirred the League to 
prompt and united action. At a meeting at Frankfort 2 
the six Electors professed themselves ready to recognise 
Eugenius if he would acknowledge the authority of General 
Councils, accept the reforming decrees of Basel, withdraw 
all censures against the upholders of German neutrality, 
and agree to the summons of a fresh Council to be held 
within the confines of the Empire. If he refused their 
terms, they would declare for Felix v and endeavour to 
end the schism in his favour. The Electors were anxious 
to secure the co-operation of the Emperor, and at once 
sent an embassy to the Imperial Court to expound their 
policy. Yet they made it clear that, if Frederick failed 
them, they were prepared to act without him, and the 
Emperor was aghast at the thought of the harm which 
might be done if Eugenius were taken by surprise and re 
turned a fiery answer to these uncompromising proposals. 
The Electoral envoys had instructions to proceed straight 
to Rome after their interview with Frederick, so that all 
the latter could do was to confide the whole matter to 
^Eneas, and send him post-haste to Italy to give Eugenius 
a word of warning. Parentucelli, the Papal Legate, was 
also advised to return to Rome immediately, and these 
two somewhat ill-assorted travelling companions set out 

1 .^Eneas Silvius to Giovanni Campisio, Sept. 1445 (Wolkan, Ep. 185; 
also Voigt, Ep. 146). 

2 Cf. Voigt, vol. i. p. 359 ; and Creighton, vol. iii. p. 75. 



92 POPE PIUS II 

together. 1 In the mountains of Carinthia they found the 
streams swollen by the winter snows, and their road 
barred by broken bridges. Some native guides con 
ducted them by another route, which added three days 
more to their journey, and as the Electoral envoys had the 
advantage of a four days start in the race for Rome, 
^Eneas and Parentucelli were in terror lest they should 
arrive too late. On reaching Rome they learned to their 
joy that their rivals had arrived the night before, and had 
not yet been received in audience by the Pope. Primed 
by ^Eneas, Parentucelli hastened to the Papal presence, 
and so explained the situation that when the time came 
for Eugenius to receive the Germans, he replied to their 
somewhat bellicose speeches "with few and dignified 
words/ 2 

The situation was saved for the time being, and ^Eneas 
had secured a diplomatic victory. He gave expression to 
his triumph in depicting the discomfiture of the Germans, 
who were kept waiting in Rome for three weeks, during 
the hot summer weather, before they received a final answer 
from the Pope. Their principal spokesman was one 
Gregorius Heimburg, an able lawyer and a keen patriot, 
destined both by character and opinions to be the lifelong 
rival of ./Eneas Silvius. " In the evening," writes his malici 
ous opponent, " Gregorius might be seen pacing on Monte 
Giordano, gesticulating wildly, sweltering with heat, head 
and chest bare, his cloak on the ground. He seemed 
to have no respect for the Romans or for his office, and did 
not hesitate to curse Rome, Eugenius, and the Curia, while 
he called down many imprecations on the heat." 3 No 
where is the conflict between the two races Latin and 

1 They had made up their quarrel before ^Eneas left Rome (cf. Com- 
mentarii, lib. i. p. 10), but their relations were never cordial. 

2 .Eneas Silvius, Hist. Frid. Ill (Kollar, p. 123). Cf. also Commentarii, 
p. ii ; and Fea, p. 91. Frederick in could not betray the plans of the 
Electors to the Papal Legate, but JEneas admits that Parentucelli " guessed 
and opined much." 

3 Hist. Frid. Ill (Kollar, p. 124). 



THE IMPERIAL CHANCERY 93 

Teutonic more strikingly illustrated than in the en 
counters between ^Eneas and this sturdy champion of 
German nationality. " Gregorius was handsome, tall 
and cheerful in appearance, with bright eyes and a bald 
head. But his speech and his gestures lacked restraint, 
he deferred to none in his judgment, and was peculiar in 
his habits, preferring liberty in all things ; he was un 
cultivated and was not ashamed of his ignorance." l The 
description is a finished sketch of Heimburg s character, 
and it expresses an Italian s contempt for one who was 
conspicuously lacking in all that he understood by the 
word civiltd. What chances had this blundering individualist 
against the quick wits and eminently social qualities of 
^neas ? 

In the end Gregorius and his companions left Rome 
with the promise that Eugenius would send his answer to 
the Diet which was about to meet at Frankfort. Mean 
while, tineas was received in private audience by the Pope 
and treated with marked favour. He then set out with 
Parentucelli on the return journey, with hardly more time 
to spare than on the way to Rome, if they were to reach 
Frankfort for the opening of the Diet on i September. 
When the travellers arrived at Parma, after crossing the 
Apennines on foot and spending a sleepless night in a 
peasant s hut, Parentucelli fell ill with fever, and ^Eneas 
was obliged to leave him behind while he hastened on with 
the Papal letters. He travelled by way of the Brenner 
and contrived to enjoy a day s hunting with Sigismund 
of Tyrol before he joined Chancellor Schlick, and entered 
Frankfort in his company as the Diet was assembling. 2 

The Diet of Frankfort is chiefly remarkable for a dis 
creditable, although highly successful, episode in ^Eneas s 
diplomatic career. At the opening of the proceedings 
matters seemed to be at a dead-lock. On the one side was 
Eugenius s answer to the Electors, which, as every one 

1 Hist. Frid. Ill (Kollar. p. 123). 

3 Commentarii, lib. i. pp. 11-2 ; and Fea, p. 94. 



94 POPE PIUS II 

realised, made no real concessions ; and the chief repre 
sentative of the Papacy was the scrupulous and uncom 
promising Cardinal Carvajal, who " always promised less 
than he intended to perform and wanted more than could 
be obtained." x On the other side were the princes, 
goaded to exasperation by Heimburg s account of his 
experiences in Rome, and ready to declare for Felix v 
at the first opportunity. Out of these irreconcilable 
elements the ingenuity of ^Eneas contrived to fashion a 
compromise. The Diet, which began so badiy, sealed the 
fate of German neutrality, and secured the final victory 
of Rome. ^Eneas s first move was to break up the Electoral 
League, by the simple expedient of bribing the Archbishop 
of Mainz to accept the Pope s answer as the basis of a 
peaceful settlement. " At length," he writes, " it was 
necessary to have recourse to gold, to which ears are seldom 
deaf. Gold is the master of Courts, it rules all things, and 
it conquered the Archbishop." 2 The traditional friend 
ship between the houses of Hohenzollern and Hapsburg 
made it comparatively easy to secure the Elector of Branden 
burg, and with two Electors won over, it was only necessary 
to provide them with some excuse for their change of front. 
Taking the ultimatum of the Electors, ^Eneas sat up all 
one night and " squeezed out the poison which Eugenius 
abhorred, so extending the meaning that provision was 
made for the needs of the nation and for the restoration of 
the Archbishops." 3 The true cleverness of this " noble 
deed," as its author calls it, lay in the way in which ^Eneas 
contrived to use his double role of Imperial secretary and 
Papal agent to give authority to his handiwork. The 
Papal Legates regarded him as the spokesman of the 
Empire, offering terms which Eugenius would be free to 
modify, while the Electors gained the impression that the 
new edition of their ultimatum rested upon the authority 

1 Fea, p. 99. Cf. also Hist. Frid. Ill, p. 128. 

2 Hist. Frid. Ill, p. 127. 

3 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 12. Cf. also Hist. Frid. Ill, p. 128. 



THE IMPERIAL CHANCERY 95 

of the Pope. Great was the surprise and anger of the 
envoys from Basel on learning that the compromise was 
accepted by all parties in the Diet, and that if Eugenius 
sanctioned the new terms, he would receive the obedience 
of Germany. " Why should this Sienese fellow come from 
Tuscany to give laws to the Germans ? " asked John of 
Lysura. "It is better to have good laws from strangers 
than bad laws from natives," was ^Eneas s prompt 
reply. 1 

All that remained to be done was to submit the con 
clusions of the Diet of Frankfort to the Pope, and in 
November 1446 ^Eneas started for Rome, for the third time 
within two years. He was now no longer the secret agent, 
but the Imperial representative, first among the crowd of 
envoys from Electors and princes sent to Rome on this 
momentous occasion. The whole embassy numbered some 
sixty horsemen, and they entered Rome in state, escorted 
by the officials of the Curia, who had come out to meet 
them. 2 On 12 January 1447, Eugenius received the Ger 
mans in a secret Consistory, and ^Eneas expounded to him 
the Frankfort articles. From a letter of the Abbot of San 
Galgano to the Republic of Siena we learn that " Messer 
Enea Piccolomini, poet and orator," won much praise for 
the able and eloquent manner in which he brought forward 
proposals which were " in themselves hateful and displeas 
ing." 3 In spite of ^Eneas s manipulation, the terms of 
reconciliation were by no means acceptable to the Papacy. 
Carvajal, Parentucelli, and others who knew something of 
the situation in Germany, did their utmost in the cause 
of peace, but extremists such as Torquemada were opposed 
to any concession, and the question was hotly debated in 
Rome. The Abbot of San Galgano probably expresses the 
general opinion when he writes : " They (the Germans) 

1 Fea, p. 103. Cf. Commentarii, lib. i. p. 12, where .Eneas states that 
he made no reply for fear of increasing Lysura s anger. 

2 Cf. .Eneas Silvius to Frederick in (Muratori, Rer. Ital Script., 
vol. iii. pt. 2, pp. 878-98). 

3 Pastor, History of the Popes, vol. i. p. 403. 



96 POPE PIUS II 

demand in brief four things, each more exorbitant than 
the others, and hateful both to the Holy Father and to the 
Cardinals. Nevertheless, owing to the evil times, it will 
be necessary to concede them in substance, in order to 
avoid the greater dangers and scandals which would arise 
if they were refused." l 

This same spirit of grudging acquiescence inspires the 
Bulls which finally issued from the Papal Chancery. 2 The 
Electors demanded the summons of a fresh Council at a 
fixed date and place ; the Pope replied by a personal promise 
that a Council should be held in Germany if princes and 
people agreed. The recognition of the authority of General 
Councils was couched in the vaguest terms, no mention 
being made of the Council of Basel. Instead of annulling 
the censures against German ecclesiastics, the Pope agreed 
to restore the Archbishops of Trier and Cologne to their 
sees. Instead of accepting the reforming decrees of Basel, 
he promised to send a Legate to frame a Concordat with 
the German Church. Thus, on each of the four main points 
at issue, the result of the year s negotiations was the same. 
Rome had conceded just enough to make the restoration of 
obedience possible without loss of dignity to Germany, but 
the real advantage in every case lay on the side of the Pope. 

In the midst of the negotiations Eugenius iv had fallen 
seriously ill, and the ceremony of the restoration of German 
obedience was made at the bedside of a dying Pope. On 
7 February the Germans assembled in the Pope s presence, 
and .-Eneas spoke the following words in the name of the 
whole company : "As your Holiness has vouchsafed to 
accede to our requests, we proffer you obedience. By 
virtue of the authority committed to us, we lay aside the 
neutrality, and recognise you as Roman, Catholic, and 

1 Pastor, History of the Popes, vol. i. p. 403. 

2 Rayualdus, Annales Ecclesiastici, 1447, Nos. 5-7. No. 7 is a secret 
protest from Eugenius iv to the effect that sickness prevented him from 
giving due consideration to these concessions, and that, in making them, 
he had no intention of derogating from the authority and privileges of 
the Papacy. 



THE IMPERIAL CHANCERY 97 

undoubted Pope." l " Ye have done well," Eugenius 
answered in a weak voice, and handing the Bulls to ^Eneas, 
he dismissed the embassy with his blessing. The successful 
issue of the negotiations was at once proclaimed in a public 
Consistory, and " great thanks were rendered to God who 
had reunited the Church when it was weak and divided, 
and had brought the bark of S. Peter into a quiet haven, 
when it seemed about to succumb to the violence of the 
storm." 2 

So far as it can be ascribed to any one man, this re 
markable political achievement was the work of ^Eneas. 
But for him the negotiations must have broken down 
at every point. But for him the gulf which separated 
Germany and Rome could hardly have been bridged. 
Much can be said in criticism of his methods, although it 
must be remembered that ^Eneas himself provides the 
material for such criticism, and probably there are few 
diplomatists who would care to record their share in the 
manipulation of a crisis with quite the same frankness. 
As regards the issue of his labours, it was the best, if not the 
only solution possible. So long as Germany remained, 
not a nation, but an aggregate of separatist interests, she 
could not be a centre of unity either in Church or State. 
Politically she must be held together by the faltering hand 
of the Emperor ; ecclesiastically she could only unite under 
the stepmotherly guardianship of the Pope. 

1 Fea, p. 104. 2 Hist. Frid. Ill, p. 132. 



CHAPTER V 
THE CORONATION OF FREDERICK III 

THE years which ^Eneas spent in manipulating 
the threads of European diplomacy were no less 
important for the change which they wrought in 
his private life. When he first came to Germany his 
morals and habits were of the lowest order. To this period 
belong such unedif ying productions as the famous letter to 
his father, telling him of the existence of an illegitimate 
son, born of an Englishwoman named Elizabeth whom he 
had met at Strassburg in the spring of 1442, and whose 
knowledge of Italian had given him the rare delight of 
hearing himself greeted in the Tuscan tongue. "It is a 
great pleasure to me that my seed should bear fruit," 
writes the shameless culprit, " and that something of me 
should survive when I die. I thank God that a little 
^Eneas will play round you and my mother, and be a com 
fort to his grandparents in his father s stead." * When the 
Emperor s young ward, Sigismund of Tyrol, wanted an 
elegant love-letter to send to his mistress, he applied 
to ^Eneas as to a recognised authority on such matters. 
" Some perhaps would have denied your request," replied 
the man of nearly forty to the boy of sixteen, " but I am 
prepared to grant it. He who does not love in youth does 
so in old age, when he makes himself ridiculous, and becomes 

1 ^Eneas Silvius to Silvio Piccolomini, 20 Sept. 1443 (Wolkan, Ep. 78 ; 
Opera, Ep. 15, and elsewhere). Another illegitimate child was born to 
yneas in Scotland, but both children appear to have died in infancy. 
Cf. .ZEneas Silvius to Silvio Piccolomini, 19 Nov. 1444 (Wolkan, Ep. 162 ; 
Voigt, Ep. 130). 



THE CORONATION OF FREDERICK III 99 

a subject of gossip among the vulgar." l The following 
year saw the production of ^Eneas s novel Eurialus ct 
Lucretia a love-story of a coarse and passionate type, for 
which Pius n felt himself bound to apologise in later life. 2 
His letters to his intimates at this time are by no means 
pleasant reading. They abound in allusions to Venus and 
Bacchus, the twin deities of the loose-liver, and on every 
page there is some coarse jest or vulgar innuendo. In 
short, i)neas at this period stood for all that was worst 
in humanism. He was frivolous, profligate, pagan, and 
apparently without vestige of shame or reticence. Never 
theless, in one respect he rose above the standard of his 
associates. In an age when clerical immorality was rife, 
he steadily refused to be ordained until he had forsaken 
his dissolute habits. " As yet I have avoided taking holy 
orders," he wrote to Piero da Noceto in 1444, " for I fear 
chastity ; although a praiseworthy virtue, it is easier in 
word than in deed, and it becomes philosophers rather than 
poets." 3 So ,Eneas remained a layman, until his hot blood 
had cooled and the wiles of Venus had ceased to charm him. 
Ere long, as public life grew more absorbing, his letters 
assume a new tone. There was a refined and serious side 
to his complex personality which must always have despised 
his vices, and now, under the beneficent influence of success, 
his better nature triumphed. One of the earliest signs of 
a less frivolous attitude towards life is a letter to a Bohemian 
friend making inquiries about the purchase of a Bible. 
He had heard that Bibles were to be had comparatively 
cheaply in Prag, and he was anxious to buy a copy contain 
ing both Testaments in one volume. " I am getting old," 
he wrote, " and worldly learning no longer becomes or 
delights me. I wish to steep myself in the Gospels and to 
drink that water of which he that drinketh shall never 



Silvius to Duke Sigismund, 13 Dec. 1443 (Wolkan, Ep. 104 ; 
Opera, Ep. 122, etc.). 

2 Wolkan, Ep. 152 (3 July 1444), for Eurialus et Lucretia ; Opera, 
Ep. 395, for Pius n s apology. 

3 1 8 Feb. 1444 (Wolkan, Ep. 125 ; Opera, Ep. 50, etc.). 



ioo POPE PIUS II 

taste death. ... I care little for the pleasures of this 
world, and I only desire to serve God. Yet as I am a lover 
of letters, I do not know how I can please God better 
than in literary work ; and as the Bible contains the first 
principles of sacred learning I wish to possess a copy." 1 
In March 1446 the decisive step was taken, and ^Eneas was 
ordained deacon in Vienna. f< He must be a miserable and 
graceless man who does not in the end return to his better 
self, enter into his own heart and amend his life, who does 
not consider the world to come. Alas ! I have done evil 
enough, nay more than enough. But I have come to my 
self. Oh, that it may not be too late ! " 2 So wrote our 
hero to a German friend in telling him of his ordination. 
It cannot be said that any radical change took place in his 
nature, neas remained ^Eneas to the last, even under 
the Papal vestments of Pius, but from that time forward 
his outward life was transformed. He ceased to make 
use of his title of " poet," and began to interest himself 
mainly in philosophical and historical studies. As far as 
morals were concerned he lived a blameless life, no word 
was ever breathed;against|his character. 

Some doubt exists as to the actual date of ^Eneas s 
ordination as priest, 3 but he was certainly in full orders 
when he tendered the obedience of Germany to Eugenius iv 
in February 1447. Now that the negotiations were satis 
factorily concluded he could look for some substantial 
reward for his services, and there were powerful friends 
who were ready to recommend him for the next vacant 
bishopric. For the moment, however, all thoughts were 
concentrated upon the death-bed of Eugenius iv. The old 
Pope was growing rapidly worse, and it seemed as if each 
day must be his last. Rome was in a state of suspense. 
The merchants were taking their more valuable goods out 

1 ^Eneas Silvius to Johann Tuschek, 31 Oct. 1444 (Wolkan, Ep. 159 ; 
Voigt, Ep. 127). 

2 yEneas Silvius to Johann Vrunt, 8 March 1446 (Opera, Ep. 92). 

3 Voigt (vol. i. p. 367) says that he was ordained in Rome in July 
1446, Cf., however, Wolkan, i. p. xxv. 



THE CORONATION OF FREDERICK III 101 

of the city, the streets were infested by robbers, and, out 
side the walls, the presence of Alfonso of Naples with a 
strong force threatened the freedom of the approaching 
Conclave. Meanwhile the intrepid Pope, who had fought 
so long and so stubbornly with his many foes, was making 
a gallant fight with death. When the Archbishop of 
Florence wished to administer extreme unction, Eugenius 
bade him stay his hand. You think that I do not know 
my time/ he said, " but I am still strong ; when the hour 
is come I will send for you." l But the enemy could not be 
kept at bay, and on 23 February the end came. In a letter 
to Frederick in, ^Eneas tells the story of Eugenius s last 
hours, and gives his final verdict upon the man whom he 
had judged from very different standpoints in the course of 
the last sixteen years. Eugenius iv, he says in conclusion, 
summoned a General Council and also dissolved it. He 
was deposed by the Council of Basel and " himself deposed 
the deposers." He lost the obedience of Germany and 
then recovered it. He was a prisoner in Rome, was forced 
to fly from the city, and eventually returned thither in 
triumph. " It would be hard to find a Pope who has ex 
perienced as much adversity and, at the same time, a c 
much prosperity. . . . His worst faults were that he 
had no moderation, and that in all his endeavours he 
thought only of what he desired, and not of what he could 
accomplish." 2 

^Eneas remained in Rome for the funeral of Eugenius iv, 
and for the election and coronation of his successor. He 
and other members of the German embassy were made 
doorkeepers of the Conclave, an office which must have 
reminded ^Eneas of his share in the election of the anti- 
Pope seven years before. The same spirit critical, half- 
mocking, and wholly detached in which he described the 
proceedings at Basel inspires his account of the Roman 

1 JEne&s Silvius to the Emperor Frederick in (Muratori, Rer. Ital. 
Script., vol. iii. pt. 2, pp. 878-98). 

Silvius to Frederick in (Muratori, iii. pt. 2, p. 890). 



102 POPE PIUS II 

Conclave. " Amid these events," he observes, " there 
were two ceremonies which provoked laughter." The first 
was the daily procession of boxes containing food for the 
Cardinals immured within the convent of S. Maria sopra 
Minerva. Each Cardinal had his separate box, and this 
was followed by the members of his household and other 
dependents, so trained to the habit of adulation that, in the 
absence of the Cardinal himself, they actually did reverence 
to the box which held his dinner. The other piece of ritual 
which called forth our hero s scorn took place round the 
funeral pyre of Eugenius, where, in mid- winter, " four 
clad in mournful garments fanned away the flies that 
did not exist, and made breezes for the Pope who 
was not present." Our practically-minded friend con 
demned one rite as superstitious and the other as childish. 
"But," he adds, "some allowance must be made for 
custom." 1 

Popular opinion had fixed upon the rich and powerful 
Prospero Colonna as the next Pope, but, as ^Eneas remarked, 
quoting a well-known Roman proverb, " He who enters 
the Conclave a Pope comes out a Cardinal." 2 After some 
abortive scrutinies, the necessary majority of two-thirds 
was obtained by Tommaso Parentucelli, Bishop of Bologna. 
Nicholas v, as the new Pope called himself, in remembrance 
of his patron Niccolo Albergata, had little save learning to 
commend him for his high office. He sprang from an 
obscure family at Sarzana, and could not even produce 
a coat-of-arms to quarter with the crossed keys of the 
Papacy. His election was, in fact, a triumph of humanism. 
Hard work and a good education had enabled him to com 
pete successfully with rank and wealth, just because the 
age had recognised that in politics, as in every other sphere, 
knowledge implied power. ^Eneas must have viewed the 
election of his colleague with mixed feelings. On the one 
hand, it could not fail to act as a spur to his own ambition. 

1 Muratori, iii. pt. 2, p. 892. 

2 Ibid., p. 893 : " Exire Cardinalem qui Pontifex intrat Conclave." 



THE CORONATION OF FREDERICK III 103 

A prize which could be won by Tommaso Parentucelli 
must also be within the reach of /Eneas Silvius Piccolomini. 
Yet, on the other hand, he knew that Nicholas v did 
not approve of him and that he could not hope to be 
among his favourites. As a matter of fact, /Eneas was 
among the first to receive preferment from the new Pope. 
Whatever were his personal feelings, Nicholas recognised 
that /Eneas had rendered valuable services to the Papacy, 
and he did not intend him to go unrewarded. One of the 
earliest acts of his pontificate was to confirm Eugenius iv s 
agreeme.it with Germany, and when the Bishop of Trieste 
died, shortly afterwards, Pope and Emperor sealed their 
alliance by both nominating /Eneas to the vacant see. Our 
hero was never entirely happy as a courtier, and for some 
time past he had longed for a means of escape from his wear 
ing, precarious existence. " I am already in the afternoon 
of life," he wrote in 1443, " and I shall not always be able 
to run hither and thither. The time will come when I must 
rest. Would that I had a place where I could rest honour 
ably ! " l At last he had obtained what he desired.- His 
diocese provided him with a sure haven where he could 
"serve God and live his own life," far from the storms of 
cDurts and politics. 

The three years which followed /Eneas s appointment 
to Trieste were of the nature of an interlude, not without 
incident or interest, but standing apart from the main 
current of his career. This was chiefly owing to the disgrace 
of his patron, Chancellor Schlick, which brought all members 
of the official party at Vienna under a cloud, and left the 
rival faction, headed by the Emperor s favourites among 
the Styrian nobility, in possession of the field. Under 
these circumstances /Eneas was glad to escape from the 
Court, where his star was no longer in the ascendant, and 
to bury himself in his diocese, dividing his time between 
study and episcopal duties. Thus his share in the final 

1 ;neas Silvius to Kaspar Schlick, 28 Dec. 1443 (Wolkan, Ep. 108 ; 
Opera, Ep. 54, etc.). 



104 POPE PIUS II 

stages of the ecclesiastical settlement was small in com 
parison with his former activity. In his retreat at Trieste 
he heard of the signing of the Concordat of Vienna (Febru 
ary 1448), embodying the terms of alliance between the 
Papacy and the German Church, and of the extinction 
of the wan ghost which had once been the Council cf Basel. 
At first Felix v was inclined to be obstinate, and spoke of 
" a certain Tommaso Calandrini of Sarzana, whom some 
call Nicholas v"; 1 but ere long Nicholas s conciliatory 
policy triumphed, and in April 1449 Felix resigned his 
claims to the Papacy, receiving in exchange a Cardinal s 
hat. Meanwhile the little company of Fathers went 
through the forms of electing Nicholas v and of decreeing 
the dissolution of the Council. John of Segovia retired to 
a Spanish bishopric and devoted himself to Oriental studies. 
Louis d Allemand spent the brief remainder of his life in 
his diocese of Aries, immersed in good works and venerated 
for his holiness. " So, by means of the Emperor Frederick, 
and by the wisdom of Nicholas, the disease of the schism 
was brought to an end." 2 

Schlick s fall placed ^Eneas in a difficult position at the 
Imperial Court, but it did not deprive him of the Emperor s 
confidence. Frederick valued his Sienese secretary for 
his own sake, especially as an instrument for dealing with 
Italian affairs, and the monotony of life at Trieste was 
broken by various diplomatic missions, 3 of which the most 
important are ^Eneas s two visits to Milan in 1447 and 
1449. In August 1447, Filippo Maria Visconti died without 
male heirs, and ^Eneas was sent to claim Milan as a lapsed 
fief of the Empire. He thus became an actor in the com 
plicated drama which ended in the failure of Milan s last 
attempt at self-government, and the triumph of the house 
of Sforza. 4 When he arrived in Milan a Republic had 

1 Mansi, Concilia, xxxi. 188 (Bull of Felix v to Charles vu of 
France). 

2 Fea, p. 114. 3 Cf. Commentarii, lib. i. p. 14. 

4 Cf . Commentarii, lib. i. pp. 14-6; also Fea, pp. 110-3; an d Hist. 
Frid. Ill pp. 139-63. 



THE CORONATION OF FREDERICK III 105 

already been established, but the citizens, knowing how 
sorely they needed protection, were ready to recognise the 
suzerainty of the Emperor, if this could be done without 
sacrifice of their new-born autonomy. With characteristic 
perspicacity, ^Eneas at once grasped the situation, and he 
was anxious to accept the obedience of the Republic, which 
would give the Emperor at least a foothold in Milan, and 
would leave the way open for a further assertion of his 
authority in the future. But the other members of the 
embassy would be content with nothing short of full pos 
session, and " by wanting too much they lost all." The 
Imperial envoys departed without having come to terms, 
and the infant Republic was left to carry on an unequal 
struggle against the arms of Venice, internal dissension, and 
the ambitions of her great condottiere, Francesco Sforza. 
When ^Eneas returned to Milan, two years later, the struggle 
was well-nigh ended. Francesco Sforza was besieging the 
city, and all the country round lay in the grip of his armies. 
He who was about to become Duke of Milan wished to 
avoid the risk of the prey being torn from his grasp by pre 
venting the Imperial envoys from entering the city. Thus 
all roads to Milan were guarded, and it was only by means 
of night-journeys on unfrequented ways that ^neas and 
his companions contrived to reach their destination. Within 
Milan all was confusion. The Republic had entered upon 
its death-agony, and its leaders were ready to promise 
anything that might bring relief from the siege and aid 
against Sforza. Thus ^Eneas was charged with highly 
favourable terms to submit to the Emperor, but the dis 
affection was such that the magistrates did not dare permit 
him to address the citizens in a public assembly. Before 
he left Milan he received a nocturnal visit from one of the 
chief officers of the Republic, 1 who offered to secure the sub 
mission of the city to Frederick in without further negotia 
tion, by the simple expedient of creating a popular rising 

1 Carlo Gonzaga, the Captain of the People, who not long afterwards 
deserted to Sforza. 



106 POPE PIUS II 

in his favour. " This plan, although likely to succeed, 
seemed hazardous to ^neas ; granted that it would be a 
great and memorable exploit, he saw that it could not be 
accomplished without danger, and that it by no means 
became his priestly office." 1 Somewhat reluctantly, it 
may be, he chose the path of prudence, and declined to 
entertain the proposal. He then went with letters of safe- 
conduct to Sf orza s camp, in order to ascertain the victorious 
captain s attitude towards the Empire in the event of his 
becoming master of Milan. Soldier-like, Francesco Sforza 
was chiefly interested in hearing how the Imperial envoys 
had contrived to penetrate through his lines and enter 
Milan. ^Eneas, however, was deeply impressed by his 
force and ability, and the acquaintance which began be 
tween the ambassador and the soldier of fortune in the 
camp outside Milan, ripened into a firm friendship between 
Pope and Duke. When in February 1450 Milan opened 
her gates to Sforza, ^Eneas hailed his triumph as a well- 
earned success. " I deem him a true Duke," he writes, 
" who, as the leader of an army, has waged many successful 
wars, rather than him who is born of a ducal father and 
who leads a life of ease and luxury." 2 

Jineas s pastoral experience before he became a Bishop 
was not extensive, but he had been in possession of at 
least two benefices, and he has left evidence of some slight 
effort to play his part by the people committed to his 
charge. In 1443 the Emperor presented him with a cure in 
the Sarantana valley, near Botzen, and his clever sketch 
of the remote Tyrolese parish is clearly based on personal 
knowledge. 3 There was only one way of approach to the 
valley, he tells us, and that was steep and difficult. For 
three-parts of the year the place was snow-bound, and the 
inhabitants were confined to their houses, where they em 
ployed themselves in carving boxes and other articles to 

1 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 16. 2 Fea, p. 113. 

3 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 9. Cf. also ;neas to Kaspar Schlick, 28 Dec. 
1443 (Wolkan, Ep. 108 ; Opera, Ep. 54, etc.). 



THE CORONATION OF FREDERICK III 107 

sell at Botzen or Trent. If anybody living at a distance 
from the church died during the winter, the corpse was 
placed out in the snow and so preserved until the spring, 
when the priest went round the parish collecting the dead 
and performing the funeral rites. Games of chess and dice 
were the principal forms of recreation, and at these the 
peasants showed remarkable skill : their flocks were their 
chief source of wealth, and also of food and drink ; many 
had never tasted wine. No fear of war ever troubled them, 
no thirst for riches or honours disturbed their peace. They 
would have been the happiest of mortals, thought their 
some-time pastor, had they but realised their good fortune 
and bridled their passions. 

About a year later, ^Eneas was presented to the living of 
Aspach in Bavaria by the Bishop of Passau. He com 
posed a sermon to mark his appointment in which he in 
structed his parishioners in their duties (laying especial 
stress on that of paying tithe promptly), and spoke of the 
responsibility which rested upon him for the welfare of their 
souls. " I will strive not only to make you better, but 
myself also," he concludes, " so that we may enter eternal 
life together. l However far he might fall short in practice, 
^Eneas could always be relied upon to say the right thing 
suitably and attractively. It is characteristic of the 
irregularities of the day that he should have held both 
these livings as a layman. In the case of Aspach, however, 
objections were raised to his tenure, a fact which is partly 
responsible for his decision to take orders in 1446.2 

Of his sojourn at Trieste he has left little but the bare 
record, yet it is not hard to picture his life in the pleasant 
seaport, like himself subject to the Emperor, but in all 
else Italian. There is no reason to suppose that he was 
greatly interested in his episcopal duties, but it was part 
of his nature to take pleasure in performing becomingly 

1 Mansi, Pii II Omtiones, vol. i. p. 54. 

2 Cf . ^Eneas to Campisio, 21 May 1445 (Wolkan, Ep. 170; Voigt, 
Ep. 138). 



io8 POPE PIUS II 

and well whatever tasks fell to his lot, and he doubtless 
acquitted himself creditably in his new position. For the 
rest, he found unfailing solace in his literary work. Isolated 
as he was from cultivated society, he kept in touch with 
the world of learning by means of his correspondence, 
and in 1447 he turned his attention to collecting and 
editing his letters. The manuscript, with his own correc 
tions in the margin, is preserved in Rome, 1 and forms one 
of the principal sources of subsequent collections. He was 
acquainted with the leading scholars of the day, and 
occasional letters passed between them ; but his two faithful 
friends, Giovanni Campisio and Piero da Noceto, wrote to 
him constantly, and his correspondence with them formed 
a connecting link with Italy throughout the years of his 
exile. In the autumn of 1443 he was seized with a desire 
to obtain Leonardo Aretino s translation of the Politics 
of Aristotle, and a lengthy correspondence on the subject 
ensued between himself and Campisio. " I am glad that 
you have found the books of the Politics in Aretino s 
translation," wrote ^Eneas ; " I have decided to buy them, 
and if they are not to be had for a smaller price than you 
name, I will send the money." 2 Campisio replies that 
his friend is showing himself " less liberal than I could 
wish," in thus haggling over the price ; if he possessed the 
book he would send it to ^Eneas as a gift, but he will do 
his utmost to make a good bargain, " so that you will have 
no cause to judge me an imprudent buyer." 3 Later on 
he reports that the book is not to be bought, but that he 
is having a copy made, and the scribe is already half-way 
through his task. In the same letter he records the death 
of the translator, the learned Aretino. 4 " I rejoice that 
Poggio holds his place in Florence," replies ^Eneas, " but 

1 " Chigi Collection," Codex J, vi. 208. Cf. Wolkan, Die Briefe, etc. 

2 14 Oct. 1443 (Wolkan, Ep. 85 ; Opera, Ep. 21, etc.). 

3 13 Nov. 1443 (Wolkan, Ep. 95 ; Opera, Ep. 169, etc.). 

4 8 April 1444 (Wolkan, Ep. 134; Opera, Ep. 172, etc.). Leonardo 
Bruni (Aretino)- died on 9 March 1444, and was succeeded by Poggio as 
Chancellor of Florence. 



THE CORONATION OF FREDERICK III 109 

I should be better pleased if that place were not vacant, 
and Etruria had not lost so great an ornament." l At last, 
in December 1445, ^Eneas acknowledges the safe receipt 
of the coveted volume, but even then he is disappointed 
to find that one out of the eight books of Leonardo s 
translation is missing. 2 His efforts to procure a copy of the 
Bible from Prag were more successful, and he wrote a 
warm letter of thanks to the friend who had procured it 
for him. " The volume is easy to hold, and the price is 
less than might be expected for so lengthy a manuscript. 
You have acted as a true friend and treated my business 
as if it were your own." 3 

It is significant that the few congenial spirits whom 
^Eneas found north of the Alps were, almost all, of Slavonic 
and not of German origin. The friend who undertook the 
purchase of the Bible was a certain Johannes Tuschek, 
secretary to the city of Prag, and an early admirer of our 
hero s literary talents. He wrote to inform ^Eneas of the 
reputation which the latter possessed in Bohemia, and 
begged that he might be allowed to see any of his writings. 4 
Two other Bohemians, Prokop von Rabstein and Wenzel 
von Bochow, were among ^neas s intimates in the Imperial 
Chancery, and in 1444 the latter set himself to collect and 
copy the letters of his gifted colleague. 5 Among his more 
exalted literary acquaintances were the Hungarian Arch 
bishop, Dionys Szech, and the cultured Pole, Zbigniew, 
Bishop of Cracow. Both these men valued ^Eneas as a 
humanist and reverenced the talents which Germany, as a 
whole, failed to appreciate. Perhaps it was the sympathy 
which he met with among the non-Teutonic peoples that 
made him take peculiar interest in the hope of Hungary and 
Bohemia, young Ladislas Postumus, the grandson of the 

1 25 June 1444 (Wolkan, Ep. 150; Opera, Ep. 51, etc.). 

2 i Dec. 1445 (Wolkan, Ep. 198 ; Opera, Ep. 82, etc.). 

3 ^Eneas to Tuschek, 20 Nov. 1445 (Wolkan, Ep. 194 ; Opera, Ep. 85). 

4 Cf. ^Eneas to Tuschek, I May 1444, replying to the request (Wolkan, 
Ep. 138 ; Opera, Ep. 70). 

6 Loc. cit. ; and Wolkan s note, p. 317. 



no POPE PIUS II 

Emperor Sigismund. As the son of Albert of Hapsburg, 
Ladislas was also the heir of Austria, and he was brought 
up at the Imperial Court under the guardianship of his 
cousin, Frederick in. In 1443, ^Eneas wrote a description 
of Ladislas s life and surroundings to Archbishop Dionys, 
being certain that " your reverence desires nothing on earth 
as much as the boy s welfare." 1 Ladislas was, then, not 
quite four years old, and the whole Court had fallen victim 
to his charm and beauty. The sight of the high-spirited 
child, riding gaily about the palace on his wooden horse, 
would be enough, thought ^Eneas, to melt the heart of 
the fiercest among his rebel subjects. Like all true 
humanists, ^Eneas was interested in education, and in 1450, 
during his retirement at Trieste, he composed his treatise 
De Liberorum Educatione, unfolding a scheme for the up 
bringing of the ten-year-old Ladislas, after the approved 
methods of humanist educators. 2 

In 1448 the signing of the Concordat of Vienna marked 
the conclusion of a long struggle, and gave ^Eneas an oppor 
tunity for reviewing the Conciliar movement as a whole. 
The result was his History, De Rebus Basiliae Gestis Com- 
mentarius? our hero s last word upon the much discussed 
theme of the Council of Basel. Apart from these two 
works, the years at Trieste represented an interlude in his 
literary no less than in his active career. The cycle of his 
political tracts was completed by the publication, in 1446, 
of De ortu et autoritate Romani Imperil? a work which 
is as unreservedly " Papal " and orthodox as the Basel 
Dialogues were " conciliar " and revolutionary. His great 
historical writings, such as the History of Frederick III 
and the History of Bohemia, were not yet begun. It seems, 
indeed, as if ^Eneas did not find quiet and retirement as 

1 JEneas to Dionys Szech, Archbishop of Gran, 16 Sept. 1443 (Wolkan, 
Ep. 76 ; Opera, Ep. 13, etc.). 

2 Opera, pp. 965-91. Cf. also Woodward, Vittorino da Feltre and 
other Humanist Educators, containing an English translation of De 
Liberorum Educatione. 

3 Fea, pp. 31-115. 4 Goldast, Monarchiae, pt. 2, p. 1558. 



THE CORONATION OF FREDERICK III in 

attractive as he had once pictured them. Inaction tried 
his spirited energies, and very soon he became discontented 
and restless. The death of Chancellor Schlick, in July 1449, 
was a severe shock to him. He regarded his former master 
with gratitude and affection, and the news of his death com 
bined with the circumstances of his own life at Trieste to 
deepen his depression. " I am not yet fifty, and already I 
have mo re friends among the dead than among the living," 
he writes to Cardinal Carvajal. 1 His thoughts run upon the 
brevity of life, its evils and its uncertainties, until they 
take shape in a vision of the other world, in which he meets 
and talks with those whom he has known in former days. 

He is walking, it seems to him, in a dense beech-wood, 
and he sees a company of distinguished-looking people 
sitting together and conversing gravely. Presently a form 
detaches itself from the group. It is Kaspar Schlick, who 
says, in reply to ^Eneas s questions, that he has come to a 
place where departed spirits make expiation for their sins 
upon earth. The figure nearest to him is that of Eugenius iv ; 
hard by is his predecessor, Martin v. Schlick s former 
masters, the Emperors Sigismund and Albert, are both 
there, as are also Filippo Maria Visconti, the Cardinal of 
Taranto, and a host of others who had played a prominent 
part in ^Eneas s world. Every day, Schlick told him, 
added to their number, owing to the reckless ambition of 
princes and republics, who did not hesitate to plunge whole 
nations into war for the sake of increasing their territories. 
Faith and justice had returned to heaven, fraud and un 
righteousness reigned supreme on earth ; few praised virtue 
and none practised it : there were sins enough to be purged 
at the approaching Jubilee, yet how many of the pilgrims 
who flocked to Rome would go with a more serious purpose 
than that of seeing the sights ? Here ^Eneas cut short 
the Chancellor s moralisings in order to know whether he 
would find Cardinal Cesarini among the assembled com 
pany. " He is not with us," was the reply; " from the 

1 13 Nov. 1449 (Voigt, Ep. 184, pp. 394-7). 



ii2 POPE PIUS II 

Hungarian battle-field he took the direct path to heaven, 
where he now tastes the joys prepared for those who witness 
for Christ with their life-blood/ Then the vision faded 
and ^Eneas was left alone and sad, " desirous of knowing 
many things," and yet convinced of the essential truth of 
what had been revealed to him. On this occasion, he 
assures Carvajal, the gate of his dream was made of horn, 
and not of ivory. 

In the year of Jubilee, ^Eneas was recalled to the Im 
perial Court, where important work awaited him. The 
Emperor wished to wed Leonora of Portugal, the niece of 
Alfonso, King of Naples, and, at the same time, he had 
determined to follow the custom of his predecessors and 
to seek coronation at the hands of the Pope. With these 
plans in view, he turned to the Bishop of Trieste as to his 
natural link with Italy, and upon ^Eneas devolved the 
entire organisation of the last Imperial coronation which 
took place in Rome. He was sent to Italy as a forerunner, 
to negotiate with the King of Naples, and to prepare the 
way in Rome for the Emperor s coming ; throughout the 
course of Frederick s expedition he acted as mediator 
between the Emperor and the Italians. The whole epi 
sode, indeed, stands out upon the pages of history as a 
gorgeous and somewhat antiquated pageant of which 
^Eneas was the highly efficient stage-manager. 

^Eneas crossed the Alps on his preliminary mission 
before the close of 1450, and on his way South he stayed 
with his cousin Jacopo Tolomei, who was a judge at Ferrara. 
Tolomei had some startling news to impart : his wife had 
just written from Siena to say that the Bishop was dead 
and that ^Eneas was appointed as his successor. 1 Our hero 
hurried on to Siena, in a state of joyful anticipation, to find 
that the news was true, and that he was about to become 
Bishop of his own city. His advent was hailed with en 
thusiasm, and but for his prudent resolve to await the 
receipt of the Papal letters, he would have been given 

1 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 17. 



THE CORONATION OF FREDERICK III 113 

immediate possession of the temporalities of the see. On 
his return from Rome, in January 1451, the necessary for 
malities were completed, and ^Eneas entered Siena in 
state, beneath a gilded baldacchino, to be enthroned in the 
familiar Duomo amid the plaudits of his fellow-citizens. 
Those of his admiring relations who had once complained 
that a promising lawyer was wasting his time over new 
fangled studies, were now obliged to acknowledge that he 
had chosen his profession well. In the company of " the 
poets and orators " ^Eneas had gone further than he could 
ever have hoped to go if he had clung to the beaten 
paths of Jurisprudence. 

Meanwhile his conduct of the Emperor s business had 
been attended with success, both in Naples and Rome. 
Leonora was willing to reject all other suitors for the 
sake of being called Empress, and it was arranged that she 
should come to Italy in time to take part in her bride 
groom s coronation. " The title of Emperor," ^Eneas 
sarcastically observes, " is held in greater esteem abroad 
than at home." 1 In October 1451 he was back again in 
Italy in order to meet Leonora when she landed. His 
reception in Siena contrasted strangely with the enthusiastic 
welcome accorded to him earlier in the year. Then " no 
one could honour and praise ^Eneas enough ; now he entered 
the city unwelcomed, no procession came out to meet him, 
few people visited him at his palace, and he heard that 
many spoke ill of him in the public places. But he bore 
it all calmly, and laughed to himself at the fickleness of 
fortune." 2 The prospect of the Emperor s visit had, in 
fact, reduced all Italy to a state of nervous trepidation. 
Nicholas v wrote panic-stricken letters begging ^Eneas to 
come to Rome at once, and urging the postponement of 
the coronation. Siena feared that .^Eneas would use his 
influence with the Emperor to overthrow her constitution 
and restore the nobility to power. The citizens eyed his 
smallest action with suspicion, and when he allowed a 

1 Hist. Frid. Ill, p. 169. 2 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 18. 



H4 POPE PIUS II 

German colleague, Michael von Pfullendorf, to be buried in 
the Duomo, it was treated as an unwarrantable usurpation 
of civic privileges. At last the situation in Siena grew so 
unpleasant that ^Eneas betook himself to Talamone, where 
Leonora was expected to land. For sixty weary days 
he waited at the dull seaport, whiling away the time, 
indefatigable sight-seer that he was, in visiting the places 
of interest in the neighbourhood. He saw the rocky pro 
montory of Monte Argentario, and the deserted Etruscan 
town of Ansedonia, while the massive fortifications of the 
ancient Portus Herculis filled him with amazement. 1 The 
news that Leonora had landed at Leghorn cut short his 
expeditions, and he hurried northward to meet the bride 
at Pisa, where she was committed to his charge with all 
due formality by the Portuguese ambassador. 2 Meanwhile 
the Emperor had arrived in Siena, and here, on 24 February 
1452, outside the Porta Camellia, where the memorial 
column stands to-day, the bridal pair met and embraced. 
The meeting has been immortalised in the most gracious 
of Pintoricchio s frescoes, and it was a ceremony calculated 
to live long in the annals of a pageant-loving people. A 
gorgeous procession went out to meet the bride. 3 At its 
head rode Albert of Austria, the Emperor s brother, 
resplendent in cloth of gold, and surrounded by a band of 
cavaliers " singing beautiful and joyous songs " ; next to 
him came the youthful Ladislas, his long fair hair falling 
in graceful curls over his shoulders. The clergy and 
magistrates of the city, the professors of the University, 
and four hundred charming Sienese ladies swelled the 
throng. Last of all came the expectant bridegroom 
mounted on a magnificent black charger, supported on 
either side by the Papal Legates, and attended by a galaxy 

1 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 19. 

2 Loc. cit. Fifteen days were wasted before this punctilious gentleman 
would consent to surrender Leonora to anyone but the Emperor in 
person. 

3 Cf . Comment arii, lib. i. p. 20 ; also Fumi and Lisini, L Incontro di 
Fedevico III con Eleonora di Portogallo, Siena, 1878. 




yENEAS SILVIUS PRESENTS LEONORA OF PORTUGAL TO FREDERICK III 

FRESCO BY PINTOKICCHIO 
Pi c co lomini I. ib rary, Siena 



THE CORONATION OF FREDERICK III 115 

of richly attired knights and barons. Presently a cry of 
joy announced the approach of Bishop ^Eneas with his 
precious charge. Frederick turned pale with anxiety, 
but as the procession drew near, and he saw the youthful 
bloom and royal bearing of his sixteen-year-old bride, 
" his colour returned, and he rejoiced to find that his spouse 
was even more beautiful than report had painted her." 1 
Leonora was dressed in cloth of gold surmounted by a 
richly brocaded mantle ; she wore a little black fur hat, 
and her fair hair was visible beneath her hood. She had 
bright dark eyes, a small mouth, and a brilliant complexion : 
even so experienced a critic as ^Eneas could find no fault 
in her appearance. The sight of her charms roused 
Frederick from his habitual apathy ; springing impulsively 
from his horse, he took her in his arms without further 
ceremony. 

A week of gay doir>gs followed, in which the jealousies 
and suspicions of the past were completely forgotten. 
^Eneas tasted unalloyed joy in exhibiting the glories of 
his beloved Siena to the admiring Germans, and, at the 
same time, giving proof to his fellow-citizens of the favour 
which he enjoyed with the Emperor. The beauty and 
accomplishments of the Sienese ladies were particularly 
gratifying to his pride, and he does not fail to draw attention 
to the elegant oration delivered by the young wife of one 
of the magistrates. This gifted lady instructed Frederick 
and Leonora in their conjugal duties, " and spoke so wisely 
and eloquently that her hearers were stupefied with admira 
tion." 2 Throughout the ensuing journey to Rome ^Eneas s 
star was in the ascendant. As the cavalcade wound its 

1 Hist. Frid. Ill, pp. 269-70. 

2 Hist. Frid. Ill, p. 272 ; cf . also Malavolti, De fatti e Guerre del 
Sanesi, p. 38. The learned lady, Battista Petrucci by name, was not 
without feminine vanity. The Emperor was so much pleased with her 
oration that he offered to show her any sign of favour that she might 
choose ; whereupon she asked, and obtained leave, to wear the clothes 
and jewels of which the sumptuary laws forbade her to make use (Malavolti, 
op. cit.}. 



u6 POPE PIUS II 

way over the steep slopes of Monte Cimino, the Emperor 
drew rein beside him, and said in half -jesting prophecy, 
" We are going to Rome. I seem to see you a Cardinal. 
Nay, you will soar still higher to the Chair of S. Peter. 
Do not despise me when you attain to that high honour." * 
On 8 March the party came in sight of the Eternal City, 
and ^Eneas s heart glowed with passionate pride of race 
as the Emperor s wondering gaze ranged over Hadrian s 
Mole, the Baths of Diocletian, the Pantheon, the Colosseum, 
the Capitol, and all the splendid heritage of the past. 
" Not in vain," he exclaimed, " does a man endure hardship, 
if it is given him to see Rome, the chief of the nations, 
and the capital of the world." 2 Frederick spent the night 
outside the walls of Rome, while ^neas went on ahead 
to prepare the Pope for his arrival. He visited Nicholas 
in bed, and discoursed to him at length of the Emperor s 
pacific disposition, assuring him that his fears were entirely 
misplaced. " The error of suspicion is less dangerous than 
the error of over-confidence," 3 was the Pope s grim reply. 
But here, as in Siena, the actual arrival of the Emperor 
put an end to all alarms. Nicholas v received his guest, 
next day, in the Portico of S. Peter s, and this solemn meet 
ing was the prelude to many friendly interviews between 
the twin heads of Christendom. The coronation was fixed 
for 19 March, the fifth anniversary of Nicholas s coronation 
as Pope. Tradition forbade an uncrowned Emperor to 
show himself in the city, but Frederick " found it tedious 
to remain at home," 4 and insisted on spending the ten 
days of waiting in seeing the sights. On 16 May his wedding 
took place, and he was crowned with the iron crown of 
Lombardy as a preliminary to his assumption of the golden 
crown of Empire. When the great day arrived, Pope and 
Cardinals assembled before the high altar, while two pulpits 
were erected for Frederick and Leonora at the entrance 
to the Choir. Proceedings began with Frederick s oath 

1 Commentavii, lib. i. p. 20. 2 Hist. Frid. Ill, p. 275. 

3 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 20. 4 Hist. Frid. Ill, pp. 281-2. 



THE CORONATION OF FREDERICK III 117 

of obedience to the Pope, taken, /Eneas tells us, " in the form 
used by Louis, the son of Charles the Great/ 1 1 He was 
then made a canon of S. Peter s, he donned the Imperial 
tunic, mantle, and sandals, and was anointed with the 
sacred oil. The Pope began Mass, and Frederick and 
Leonora returned to their places until the time came for 
Frederick s investiture with the Imperial insignia, " the 
sceptre which denotes kingly power, the orb which stands 
for dominion of the world, and the sword which indicates 
rights of warfare." 2 Finally, the magnificent jewelled 
crown was placed on his head, Leonora received her crown, 
and Pope and Emperor walked hand in hand to the door 
of S. Peter s, whence they rode in procession to the ancient 
Basilica of S. Maria in Cosmedin. On the bridge of S. 
Angelo, the Emperor dubbed three hundred knights, 
and the day s ceremonies terminated with a banquet at 
the Lateran, in which " I too," says ^Eneas, " had a place 
at the Emperor s table." 3 

Much as /Eneas appreciated the splendid pageantry 
and historical significance of the scenes which he witnessed, 
he was too clear-sighted not to realise their fundamental 
unreality. Frederick had no power in Italy, and not a 
single assertion of authority marked his visit. He received 
the Lombard crown in Rome, instead of at Milan, or Monza, 
because Francesco Sforza was in possession of the Duchy, 
and the Emperor did not wish to recognise a usurpation that 
he was powerless to prevent. The same artificial repro 
duction of a vanished past showed itself in the very details 
of the coronation ceremonies. The reputed insignia of 
Charles the Great had been brought from Niirnberg for 
use on this occasion. " When I examined the sword," 
reports our observant friend, <f I found that it belonged 
not to the first Charles but to the fourth, for I saw the lion 
of Bohemia engraved upon it." 4 So, too, ^Eneas deplores 
the fact that the three hundred upon whom the Emperor 

1 Hist. Frid. Ill, p. 291. * Op. cit., pp. 291-2. 

3 Op. cit., p. 295. 4 Op. cit., p. 292. 



n8 POPE PIUS II 

conferred knighthood were chosen, not for their military 
valour, but for their ability to pay the dues which would 
fill Frederick s empty purse. " If scholars, weak in body 
and cowardly in spirit, are not ashamed to assume military 
honours, why should not soldiers seek Doctors degrees ? " 
he asks. But the rewards of scholarship were being given 
on the same system, and the Emperor conferred the degree 
of Doctor upon many men in Italy " with whom gold took 
the place of learning." 1 ^Eneas s real opinion with re 
gard to Frederick in and his shadowy Empire is summed 
up in the allusion to the image of Daniel s vision with which 
he prefaces his account of the coronation. Once the legs 
of iron were a fitting symbol of the strength and cohesion 
of the Roman Empire. " Alas ! to-day it is burdened 
with little of its former power. We have come, it seems, 
to the era of the feet of clay." 2 

Frederick and Leonora spent Easter at the Court of 
Naples, as the guests of King Alfonso, while ^Eneas remained 
in Rome in charge of the young King Ladislas. At this 
time Austrians, Bohemians, and Hungarians were plotting 
to wrest Ladislas from Frederick s guardianship, and 
.ZEneas s responsibility was by no means light. The news of 
a conspiracy came to the Pope s ears ; he sent for ^Eneas in 
the dead of night, and warned him to keep strict watch 
over the boy s apartments, lest they should wake in the 
morning to find the bird flown. Thus the danger was 
averted, but after this episode the Pope was so afraid of 
treachery that he would not even allow Ladislas to go out 
hunting with the Cardinals. 3 Ere long the Emperor 
returned, and, after a few farewell interviews and compli 
mentary speeches, the Imperial visit was at an end : 
Frederick started on his homeward journey with ^Eneas 
in his train. The party travelled by way of Venice, where 
the Emperor spent his time in rambling about the city, 
disguised as a private individual in order to be able to drive 

1 Hist. Frid. Ill, pp. 293-4. a Op. cit. t pp. 288-9. 

3 Op. cit., pp. 305-6. 



THE CORONATION OF FREDERICK III 119 

better bargains with the Venetian shopkeepers. 1 Both 
Frederick and ^Eneas left Italy with regret. The Emperor 
was loth to end a pleasant holiday and to take up life again 
amid rebellious subjects and troublesome Diets. ^Eneas 
felt that he was returning to exile, without the consolation 
of the Cardinal s hat which he had hoped would come 
as the reward of his activity. 

1 Hist. Frid. Ill, p. 337. 



CHAPTER VI 
THE FALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE 

AS the Emperor crossed the frontier on his return 
to Germany, a terrific thunderstorm broke upon 
the travellers. To ^Eneas it seemed the fore 
boding of disaster, " the end of Italian delights, and 
the beginning of German sorrows." l Life north of the 
Alps had never been congenial to him, and with his 
advancing years and failing health it was rapidly be 
coming intolerable. The Court was seldom at Vienna 
for any length of time. Frederick s favourite residence 
was at Neustadt, a little country town thirty miles 
from the capital, where he could spend his time in 
hunting and in the cultivation of his magnificent garden, 
doing his best to live as if responsibilities of Empire did 
not exist. ^Eneas once wrote a charming description of 
Neustadt, of the stately palace set in the midst of woods 
and vineyards, of the gardens rich in fruit and flowers, of 
the good air and excellent hunting. " I do not wonder/ 
he declared, " that the Emperor takes pleasure in a place 
that abounds in all delights." 2 Nevertheless, he and, 
indeed, the majority of Frederick s courtiers found Neu 
stadt insufferably dull; and Neustadt itself seemed a 
centre of life and civilisation in comparison with Frederick s 
other favourite resorts, the capitals of his hereditary pro 
vinces Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola. Even to the 

1 Hist. Frid. Ill, p. 343. 

2 yneas Silvius to Giovanni Campisio, 8 June 1444 (Wolkan, Ep. 148; 
Voigt, Ep. 115). 



THE FALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE 121 

Germans these remote mountain districts appeared only 
half -civilised, and to ^Eneas, life in the comfortless, scantily 
equipped castle at Graz, S. Veit, or Laibach must have 
stood for all that was rough and barbarous. In 1453 the 
Court spent practically the whole summer at Graz. Al 
though ^Eneas could not fail to appreciate the picturesque 
charm of his surroundings, the keen mountain air chilled 
his gouty limbs, and he had neither the health nor the 
spirits to face discomfort with his wonted serenity. " I 
am afflicted and tormented not only in body but in mind/ 
he wrote to Goro Lolli; " for who is there with so iron a 
spirit that it does not suffer when the body suffers ? . . . 
I, indeed, in spite of my anguish, am not so distressed that 
I cannot call back my courage, and remember that my 
pains must soon be ended either by recovery or death." 1 
He was ill enough to look upon death almost in the light 
of a release, and in his suffering and depression he longed 
more than ever to be back in Italy, among old friends and 
familiar surroundings. "Day and night," he cried, "I 
have the sweet soil of my country before my eyes." His 
thoughts flew, not to Campisio and Piero da Noceto, the 
friends of his public life, but to his mother, Goro Lolli, 
Mariano Sozzini, Giorgio Andrenzio, and other companions 
of his youth. His dearest wish was to return to Siena ; he 
had already asked leave of absence from the Emperor, 
and intended to start as soon as he felt strong enough 
for the journey. 2 Before the end of the year he actually 
sent orders to his Vicar in Siena to prepare the episcopal 
palace for his arrival ; 3 but, for one cause and another, his 
departure was postponed, and it was not until 1455 that 
he again crossed the Alps. 

If ^Eneas craved for home, it may well be asked, why 
did he not sever his connection with the Imperial Court, 
and take up his residence in Siena ? He himself supplies 

1 Opera, Ep. 146, 3 Sept. 1453. 

2 Opera, Ep. 146 ; cf. also Epp. 132, 133, 136, 143, etc. 

3 JEneas to his Vicar, 10 Dec. 1453 (Weiss, Ep. 91). 



122 POPE PIUS II 

the answer. " While I remain with the Emperor," he 
wrote, " the Pope and the Cardinals still value me a little. 
If I were in Siena they would cease to remember me. . . . 
The Roman Curia only pays respect to a man s reputation, 
not to the man himself. ... If I left the Imperial Court 
I should be dropped, for I should be of no further use." 1 
Our hero was a person of strong feelings, and his letters 
were often made the vehicle of his emotions ; but when 
it came to action, common sense usually prevailed. His 
will was set upon becoming a Cardinal, and he knew that he 
could never rest content until this purpose was accomplished ; 
misery at Graz, with hope to sustain him, was more tolerable 
than a life of ease and obscurity at Siena. So he lingered 
on at the Imperial Court, and meanwhile both Frederick 
and Ladislas pressed his claims to the Cardinalate. In 
Rome his cause was warmly championed by Piero da 
Noceto, who had also served under Parentucelli, in the old 
days, in Albergata s household, and had found favour 
where ^neas had only met with disapproval. Since the 
accession of Nicholas v, Piero had risen to a high position 
in the Curia. As a layman, with a wife and children, the 
surest path of advancement was closed to him, but he was 
treated as the Pope s confidential adviser, and had been 
among the three hundred who received knighthood at the 
time of the Imperial coronation. " Commend me to the 
Holy Father, and take care that his goodwill towards me 
is increased rather than diminished. I, meanwhile, will 
do the same for you with the Emperor, with all diligence." 2 
So wrote ^Eneas to his faithful friend, and Piero doubtless 
did his best. But Nicholas v was not to be moved. He 
carried his prejudice so far as to determine that ^Eneas 
should not be a Cardinal, and as long as he lived the red 
hat hovered elusively upon our hero s horizon. 

In the meantime, events in Germany were providing 
the would-be Cardinal with sufficient occupation. Five 



to Goro Lolli, i July 1453 (Weiss, Ep. 48). 
2 Opera, Ep. 148, 18 Sept. 1453. 



THE FALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE 123 

months after his coronation the Emperor was besieged in 
his own palace at Neustadt by the rebellious Austrians, 
and forced to buy their withdrawal by handing over Ladislas 
to their charge. A determined effort to free Ladislas from 
his cousin s wardship was now in process, and a joint em 
bassy from Austria, Bohemia, and Hungary had already 
gone to Rome in order to protest against the Pope s inter 
ference on Frederick s behalf. 1 Nicholas, however, re 
mained faithful to his ally, and met the complaints of the 
three nations by an admonition to obey the Emperor on 
pain of excommunication. In the hands of an active 
Emperor, the Papal pronouncement might have proved 
an effective instrument, but under existing circumstances 
it was simply disregarded. The University of Vienna 
appealed from Nicholas v to a better instructed Pope, 
and the Austrians gathered round Neustadt with the in 
tention of carrying their point by force of arms. 

^Eneas did his best to steer his Imperial master through 
this tangle of difficulties. He realised that Ladislas could 
not be kept in tutelage indefinitely, and that, in the absence 
of any military preparations, it was impossible for Neu 
stadt to withstand a siege. Therefore he urged the Em 
peror to avoid the indignity of a defeat by doing at once 
what must be done sooner or later, and declaring his ward 
ship of Ladislas at an end. 2 But less prudent counsels pre 
vailed, and the siege was continued until the Austrians 
bombarded the gates of Neustadt from the vantage-ground 
of an adjacent mill, and so brought Frederick to his knees. 
Ladislas was handed over to the Count of Cilly without 
further negotiation, and the question of his future was 
left to be decided at the approaching Diet of Vienna. 
Thither, in December 1452, went vEneas, as the chief repre 
sentative of the Emperor. His clever speech, Adversus 

1 Frederick had obtained the Pope s promise of support against the 
Austrians while he was in Rome, but unfortunately he had disregarded 
Nicholas v s warning. Cf. Hist. Frid. Ill, p. 287 ; " Tu cave, ne dum 
spiritualia quaeris arma, materialia negligas." 

2 Hist. Frid. Ill, pp. 377-8. 



124 POPE PIUS II 

Austriales, 1 put the case for both Pope and Emperor with 
irresistible logic ; but his eloquence was as powerless as the 
Papal censures to counteract the fundamental weakness of 
Frederick s position. The Austrians realised that there 
was nothing to prevent them from doing as they pleased, 
and they refused to sign the terms drawn up by the Diet of 
Vienna. Until his death, in 1457, Ladislas was separated 
from his former guardian, and Frederick lost such control 
as he possessed over Austria, Bohemia, and Hungary. 

To ^Eneas the Diet of Vienna, and everything connected 
with it, seemed a pitiable exhibition of Imperial weakness. 
He describes, in the language of outraged decorum, how 
Albert of Brandenburg left Vienna and bearded Frederick 
at Neustadt in order to demand a personal hearing for 
his case against the city of Niirnberg. ^Eneas was 
doing business with the Emperor when this unmannerly 
gentleman burst into the room and declared loudly that 
he cared nought for Pope or Emperor, but that he, a prince 
of noble blood, would not be judged by marshals and chamber 
lains. " This is a common failing in princes," remarks 
the courteous Italian ; " they are brought up among inferiors 
who praise all that they say, and when they mix with 
strangers and equals they storm and lose their temper if 
they are crossed." 2 The majority of the princes followed 
hard upon Brandenburg s heels to Neustadt, and Frederick, 
who had stayed at home to avoid the Diet, found it estab 
lished in his own palace. It needed all ^Eneas s statecraft 
to prevent the Emperor from being forced into an un 
just pronouncement, under the menace of Brandenburg s 
anger. With this prince, as with the Austrians, might 
was right ; he had no respect for Imperial authority or for 
the decisions of the Diet. And the year 1453 had already 
dawned ; in a few months the capture of Constantinople 
would fling out a challenge to the nations of Europe to 
unite in defence of Christendom against the Turk. As 

1 Mansi, Pius II Orationes, vol. i. p. 184. 
rid.III,p. 417. 



THE FALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE 125 

far as Germany was concerned, none knew better than 
^Eneas how faint was the prospect of an effective response 
to the call. 

The news of the fall of Constantinople reached the 
Imperial Court at Graz. Even the phlegmatic Emperor 
was moved to tears, and to ^Eneas the disaster was quite 
overwhelming. As a statesman, the establishment of the 
Turkish power at Constantinople made him tremble for 
the fate of Europe, torn by national and civil strife. 
" Mahomet now reigns among us/ he wrote; "already 
the Turkish sword is hanging over our head. The Black 
Sea is closed to us ... the Wallachians must obey the 
infidel; soon the Hungarians and the Germans will share 
their fate." x As an ecclesiastic, he felt that the whole 
Catholic Church had suffered disgrace. He thought 
mournfully of S. Sophia, and of the other famous Basilicas 
of Constantinople, which were either in ruins or polluted 
by infidel rites. It seemed to him that the Eastern Church 
had received a blow from which she could never recover. 
" Of the two lights of Christendom, one has been put out." 
Above all, as a humanist he grieved for the loss of the 
priceless manuscripts which must inevitably accompany 
the destruction of the centre of Grecian civilisation. " What 
can I say of the countless books, which are as yet unknown 
to the Latin world ? " he wrote to that other sorrowing 
scholar, Pope Nicholas v. " Alas ! how many names of 
famous men will perish. It is a second death to Homer 
and to Plato. Where shall we find our poets and our philo 
sophers ? The fount of the Muses is stopped." 2 In the 
face of so great a calamity the only refuge lay in prompt 
action. All his powers of persuasion were thrown into 
the passionate appeal to Nicholas v to take up his burden, 
and to rally the forces of Europe for a Crusade against the 
Turk. "It is for you, Holy Father, to arise, to address 
kings, to send legates, to exhort princes. . . . Now, while 

1 vEneas to Pope Nicholas v, 12 July 1453 (Opera, Ep. 162). 

2 Op. cit. 



126 POPE PIUS II 

the evil is recent, let Christian States hasten to take counsel, 
to make peace with their co-religionists, and to move with 
united forces against the enemies of the saving Cross." It 
must be allowed that ^Eneas lived up to his precepts 
nobly. For the two years that he remained in Germany 
he wrote letters and attended Diets with untiring vigour, 
and, during the eleven years of life that were still left to him, 
the suffering East was seldom absent from his thoughts. The 
fall of Constantinople, a crisis in the history of Europe, 
was also a turning-point in ^Eneas s career. From that 
day forward he never ceased to work for the crusading 
cause, and death cut him off in the midst of his labours. 

The months which followed the fall of Constantinople 
were full of disappointment for those who had fixed their 
hopes upon a Crusade. At first there seemed a fair prospect 
of something being done. Nicholas v felt that the honour 
of the Papacy was at stake, and was eager to wipe out the 
disgrace. By a Bull of 30 September 1453 he solemnly 
published a Crusade, and called on all Christian princes 
to take part in the holy war. 1 The Emperor summoned a 
European Congress to meet at Regensburg in the spring 
of 1454, and this, with the preaching of Fra Giovanni 
Capistrano, and the appearance of the Bishop of Pavia 
as a special legate for the furtherance of the Crusade in 
Germany, created a respectable appearance of activity. 
But the first flicker of enthusiasm died away almost as 
soon as it arose. The Emperor s zeal was not sufficient to 
overcome his habitual repugnance to Diets, and he seized 
on the excuse of some local disturbance in Styria to an 
nounce his inability to attend the Congress. " He decided, 
after the manner of men, to attend to his own affairs 
in person, and to depute public business to the care of 
others," * writes the indignant Jineas, after vainly endea 
vouring to rouse Frederick to a sense of his duty. Mean 
while Nicholas v was a prey to misgivings of a similar 

1 Raynaldus, Annales Ecclesiastici, 1453, Nos, 9-12. 
8 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 22. 




THE SULTAN MAHOMET II 

PORTRAIT BY GENTILE BEI.I.INI 
Layard Collection, I t nice 



THE FALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE 127 

kind. To him the Congress of Regensburg was a General 
Council in embryo, therefore he refused to join with 
Frederick in summoning the princes of Europe to attend ; 
and beyond sending his legate, he did nothing to promote 
its success. When Pope and Emperor refused to subor 
dinate their selfish fears to the welfare of Christendom, little 
could be expected from men of lesser degree. ^Eneas had 
a specimen of the ardour of German princes when he halted 
on his way to Regensburg in order to invite Louis of Bavaria 
to act as one of the Emperor s representatives at the Con 
gress. The Duke of Bavaria was a tall, handsome young 
man of twenty-eight, ready of speech, and most pleasant 
in manner a perfect prince, in ^Eneas s opinion, if only 
he had known Latin. He might have added, "if he had 
possessed more of the crusading spirit." Louis replied 
to the Emperor s request with a courteous refusal ; and 
although he promised to send representatives, it was clear 
that he did not contemplate attending the Congress in 
person. " Meanwhile, outside the castle, innumerable 
dogs were barking, horses were chafing, and loud voices were 
heard swearing at the delay, and cursing the Imperial 
envoys for spoiling the day s hunting." 1 The Duke 
invited ^Eneas to join him, and on being refused, he 
mounted his horse, and, " surrounded by a joyous and 
youthful throng," was soon lost to sight in the forest. 

The Congress of Regensburg was saved from abject 
failure by the inspiring presence of the Duke of Burgundy. 
This splendid prince, whom ^Eneas had seen in the prime 
of his manhood, twenty years before, at the Congress of 
Arras, was still strong and vigorous for all his sixty years, 
and he had sworn, with solemn rites, that he would never 
rest until the Turk was driven out of Europe. " One 
prince," wrote ^Eneas, " seems to me, above all others, 
worthy of praise Philip, Duke of Burgundy, who when 
he was bidden to a Congress summoned for the salvation 

1 Jineas Silvius, Historia de Ratisponensi Dieta (Mansi, Pius II 
Orationes, vol. iii. pp. 1-85). 



128 POPE PIUS II 

of Christian peoples, refused to desert the common cause 
by sending an excuse." 1 Philip s father, John the Fear 
less, had been taken prisoner by the Turk at the disastrous 
battle of Nicopolis, and the present Duke felt himself bound 
to the Crusade by filial piety as well as by the chivalrous 
traditions of a long line of ancestors. His coming put 
life into the proceedings at Regensburg. Louis of Bavaria 
left his hunting, and other princes were shamed into attend 
ance, or at least into sending envoys. Matters progressed 
so far, that a definite scheme for raising an army was drawn 
up by the Imperial representatives, and received the ap 
proval of the Assembly. 2 But the letter which ^Eneas 
wrote to a friend in Italy, soon after the close of the Congress, 
shows that he, at any rate, was under no illusions as to the 
value of what had been effected. 3 " If the Congress is 
large, you say, there is good hope of a successful issue. Is 
that what you think ? For my part I prefer to be silent, 
and I could wish that my opinion were false and untrust 
worthy rather than that of a true prophet. My wishes 
differ from my hopes. I cannot persuade myself of any good 
result. . . . Christendom has no head whom all will obey. 
Neither Pope nor Emperor receives what is his due ; there 
is no reverence, and no obedience ; we look on Pope and Em 
peror only as names in a story or heads in a picture. Every 
city has its own king ; there are as many princes as there 
are houses : how will you persuade this multitude of rulers 
to take up arms ? " " Pride, sloth, avarice," he wrote a 
few months later, " these are three most malignant plagues 
which have caused our religion to fall before the sword of 
the Turk. If we were humble, active, and generous, we 
could easily collect an army which would crush, not the 
Turk only, but all unbelievers. But no one will curb his 
ambitions, or submit to the will of others. We all suffer 

1 ^Eneas to Leonardo Benvoglienti, 5 July 1454 (Opera, Ep. 127). 

2 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 23 : " in verba Aeneae decretum factum 
est." 

3 Loc. cit., Opera, Ep. 127. 



THE FALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE 129 

from the disease of Jason, who bore it ill if he did not rule, 
because he had never learned to be ruled." 1 

These gloomy prognostications were justified by the 
proceedings at Frankfort, where the Diet met in the autumn 
of 1454, in order to discuss the Regensburg proposals. The 
temper of the German princes had changed in the interval, 
and now not a voice was raised in favour of the Crusade. 
The members of the Diet, ^Eneas tells us, " spoke evil of 
Pope and Emperor, insulted their envoys, and mocked at 
the Burgundians." It was even said that the Crusade was 
a mere device for obtaining money, and the pitiful appeals 
of the Hungarians for aid were met with the taunt that, as 
they could not defend their country themselves, they were 
trying to involve Germany in their own downfall. 2 ^Eneas 
did his best to bring the princes to a better frame of mind. 
In a speech of two hours duration, which was listened to, 
he assures us, with the closest attention, 3 he prevailed upon 
the Diet to renew the Regensburg decrees. Fra Giovanni 
Capistrano, who was in Frankfort at the time, could not say 
too much in his praise. " Both by his admirable oration 
and his excellent advice, he has conducted himself at this 
Diet with unexampled prudence and ability." 4 But the 
princes were in a dangerous mood. The deliberations upon 
the Crusade gave them an opportunity for raising the whole 
question of reform of the Empire, and they determined 
not to vote supplies for the war until their own grievances 
had been dealt with. In order that Frederick should have 
no means of escape, it was decided that the next Diet should 
be held at Neustadt. Here, in February 1455, the forces 
gathered, yet a third time, for the fray. " I am very much 



Silvius to Fra Giovanni Capistrano, Jan. 1455 (Opera, Ep. 
405, p. 947). 

2 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 23. 

3 Loc. cit. ^Eneas s own way of expressing this is realistic : " Oravit 
ille duabus ferme horis, ita intentis animis auditus, ut nemo unquam 
expuerit." 

4 Giovanni Capistrano to Pope Nicholas v, 28 Oct. 1454 (Wadding, 
Annales Minorum, Rome, 1735, vol. xii. p. 203). 

9 



130 POPE PIUS II 

afraid that the building which we erected at Frankfort will 
be destroyed," wrote ^neas to Capistrano. 1 It was, in fact, 
all ready to crumble about the ears of the luckless Emperor, 
who was faced with the alternative of making abject sub 
mission to the princes on the question of reform, or of 
rendering himself ridiculous in the eyes of Europe, through 
the refusal of the Diet to grant supplies. 

In the midst of the proceedings at Neustadt, the death 
of Pope Nicholas v (24 March 1455) offered an unexpected 
way of escape from the dilemma. All parties hailed the 
sad event as an excuse for delay, and after agreeing that 
the levy of the crusading army should be postponed for a 
year, the members of the Diet went their several ways. 
" At the Diet of Neustadt," wrote the despairing Hun 
garians, " all that has been achieved, besides loss of precipus 
time and disappointment of high hopes, is that, to the joy 
of our enemies, nothing has been done." 2 These fruitless 
assemblies had taught them that they had nothing to ex 
pect from Germany, and that the brunt of the Turkish 
war must be borne by them alone. In the following year 
they were reinforced by a motley crowd of Crusaders under 
Capistrano s leadership, which shared with them in the one 
striking success of the Christian forces, the relief of Belgrad 
(21 July 1456). But the hero of the day was the gallant 
Hungarian soldier Hunyadi, whose brilliant generalship 
and self-sacrificing devotion kept the Turk at bay, while 
Europe looked on, inactive and indifferent. 

And what of ^Eneas s feelings as he contemplated the 
shattered ruin of a noble scheme, the sole result of his 
labours for the past two years ? Sad, weary, and disap 
pointed, he realised, perhaps for the first time, the limita 
tions of that " goddess of persuasion " in whom he put 
his trust. Eloquence had failed to kindle the imagination 
of Europe, to counteract the weakness of the Imperial 

1 Opera, Ep. 405, p. 948. 

2 Letter of the Hungarian leaders to Calixtus m, 21 July 1455 (Wadding, 
vol. xii. p. 254). 



THE FALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE 131 

power, or to render German Diets effective. In spite of 
his letters and speeches, in spite of his passionate en 
thusiasm, he was obliged to endorse the verdict of the 
Hungarians that nothing had been done. 

The death of Nicholas v and the election of his successor 
made it necessary for Frederick to send an embassy to 
Rome in order to renew the obedience of Germany. /Eneas 
and his friend Johann Hinderbach were the chosen envoys, 
and in May 1455 they set out on their journey. As far as 
yEneas was concerned the visit to Italy would be, in any 
case, of some months duration, for he intended to take his 
long-postponed holiday in Siena as soon as he had finished 
the Emperor s business. His plans for the future depended 
upon the new regime in Rome, concerning which he was, 
as yet, very much in the dark. Nicholas v, although he 
withheld the Cardinal s hat, belonged to vEneas s own 
circle ; the two had friends and interests in common, and 
as long as he reigned in Rome, ^Eneas knew that he could 
not be entirely forgotten. On the other hand, the old 
Spaniard, Alfonso Borgia, who was now Pope Calixtus in, 
was an entirely unknown quantity. There was the fear 
that ^Eneas might lose such influence as he possessed 
in the Curia, yet there was also the hope that Calixtus 
might prove kinder than Nicholas, and that /Eneas s 
admission to the College of Cardinals might absolve him 
from the necessity of returning to Germany. In spite of 
the friction between them, ^Eneas had a sincere admiration 
for Nicholas v, and his verdict upon the dead Pope is written 
with true appreciation of the masterful, hot-tempered, 
highly cultivated scholar. After speaking of Nicholas s 
wonderful memory, profound learning, and generous 
patronage of art and letters, he adds : " He was quick 
to anger, but soon repented. His care for the sick and 
needy was unfailing. He was truthful in speech, and could 
not tolerate lies and inaccuracies. He trusted in himself 
too much, and never thought a thing well done unless he 
had done it. He loved choice books and fine clothes. 



132 POPE PIUS II 

He was staunch to his friends, although there was not one 
of them who did not occasionally experience his anger. 
He could forgive an injury but he never forgot it." 1 
" His buildings show the vastness of his soul, for no one 
built more splendidly, more lavishly, or more rapidly than 
he." 2 Such was the final tribute of one humanist to 
another. Sorrow for the loss of a true man of letters and 
mingled hope and misgiving with regard to his own future 
were the prevailing sentiments in Jineas s mind, as he 
crossed the Alps for the last time. 

Rome, in the summer of 1455, was a changed place since 
jEneas had last visited it. Piero da Noceto had lost his 
post at the Vatican, being one of the many scholars who 
were thrown out of employment by the death of the 
humanist Pope. For artists, architects, collectors, trans 
lators, and men of letters of every kind, the golden age of 
prosperity had vanished. The new Pope cared nothing 
for the arts ; he was simple in his habits and rarely left 
his own room ; all the strength and energy that remained 
to him were devoted to the two great objects of his heart s 
desire, the promotion of the Borgia family and the prose- 
secution of the war against the Turk. " The matter is very 
dear to our Holy Lord," 3 wrote ^Eneas, on the subject of 
the Crusade. " He thinks of nothing else night and day 
save by what means the Turk can be defeated. Both in 
private and public he declares his firm belief that he will not 
die until Constantinople is recovered." Calixtus had small 
faith in Congresses, but preaching friars were sent through 
the length and breadth of Europe, selling indulgences, 
collecting tithes, and enlisting recruits for the crusading 
army. Meanwhile his own efforts were directed towards 
the production of an adequate Papal fleet. The treasures 
of Nicholas v s collection, the gorgeous bindings of the 
books in the Vatican Library, even the golden salt-cellar 
from the Pope s dinner-table, were all sacrificed to the 

1 Fea, p. 109. a Hist. Frid. Ill, p. 138. 

8 Cugnoni, Ep. 58, pp. 121 seg. 



THE FALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE 133 

same end, and in a year s time a fleet of sixteen vessels 
set sail for the East, a creditable witness to Calixtus ill s 
self-sacrificing zeal. 

Common enthusiasm for the Crusade at once created 
a strong bond of union between ^Eneas and the Pope, and 
our hero s own reception left nothing to be desired. But 
on the question of German obedience Calixtus proved 
the reverse of conciliatory. " On the evening of our arrival," 
^neas wrote to the Emperor, " we sent to our Holy Lord, 
saying that we wished to speak to him in secret before the 
public audience. He replied that he would be glad to 
hear us, but that we must beware of trying to make con 
ditions with regard to the obedience, as under no circum 
stances would he accept a conditional obedience. The 
message seemed hard to us, but we went to His Holiness 
on the following day and expounded to him your Majesty s 
honourable intentions, and then, with all possible modesty, 
we brought forward your requests." l But the Papacy had 
grown stronger since the day when ^Eneas first proffered 
the obedience of Germany to the dying Eugenius, while 
the power of the Emperor had waned, and no amount of 
tact could readjust the balance between them. The 
Imperial alliance was no longer of vital importance to the 
Pope ; therefore he declined to buy it by concessions, and 
^Eneas ended by renewing the obedience without further 
reference to the conditions which Frederick had hoped to 
impose. 

Meanwhile ^Eneas heard himself spoken of in Rome as 
likely to be made a Cardinal in Advent. When the time 
came for the publication of Calixtus m s first creations a 
rumour went out from the Vatican that both the Bishop 
of Siena and the Bishop of Zamora were among the new 
Cardinals. yneas was suffering from a sharp attack of 
gout, and his friends hurried to his bedside with the good 
news ; but he prudently declined to indulge in any demon- 



Silvius and Johann Hinderbach to Frederick m, Rome, 
8 Sept. 1455 (Cugnoni, Aeneae Silvii Opera Inedita, pp. 122-6). 



134 POPE PIUS II 

strations of joy until the rumour was confirmed. " Yet so 
varied is the nature of man that some easily believe what 
they desire " ; the Bishop of Zamora at once accepted the 
news as true. " Now at last I obtain what I have coveted 
for the past thirty-nine years," he cried, and hurried to his 
favourite church to return thanks. 1 But when the result 
of the Consistory was made known there were only three 
new Cardinals, and neither ^Eneas nor Zamora was among 
them. It was a bitter disappointment, but ^Eneas took 
consolation from the thought that he had been spared 
from making himself ridiculous, and waited with what 
patience he could muster for a future creation. He em 
ployed his time, during the interval, in a visit to the Court 
of Naples, where his influence prevailed upon King Alfonso 
to make peace between the condottiere, Jacopo Piccinino, 
and the Republic of Siena. At first Alfonso had refused 
to listen to the entreaties of the Sienese, but on ^Eneas s 
arrival all was changed. 2 The Neapolitan king was a 
man of culture and a generous patron, he had made friends 
with ^Eneas over the Emperor s marriage negotiations six 
years before, and he welcomed him back to Naples with 
real pleasure. " Now we will gladly speak of peace," he 
said, " for a mediator has arrived whom we love." 3 ^Eneas 
was thoroughly in his element at the Neapolitan Court, 
in the cultivated society of scholars and artists which 
circled round the great Alfonso. Among the chief literary 
lights was Antonio Beccadelli, II Panormita, whom ^Eneas 
had known in University days at Siena, and who was now 
collecting the literary materials for Alfonso s career. 
^Eneas spent his leisure moments in compiling four books 
of anecdotes and epigrams to add to his friend s collection. 4 
He also visited the sights of the neighbourhood Baia, 
Cumae, Salerno, Amalfi and showed his accustomed zest 

1 Commentarii, lib. i. pp. 25-6. 2 Cf. Malavolti, p. 54. 

3 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 27. 

4 ^Eneas Silvius, In Libras Antonii Panormitae poetae, de dictis et 
factis Alphonsi regis memorabilibus Conimentarius (Opera, pp. 472-97). 



THE FALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE 135 

in hunting out everything of interest, from classical remains 
to relics of the Apostles. 1 Thus the days passed pleasantly 
enough, and he left Naples, feeling that he had discovered 
in Alfonso the humanist s ideal of what a prince should be. 
He even congratulated himself so well did Alfonso under 
stand the art of dissimulation on having secured a distin 
guished recruit for the Crusade. On returning to Rome 
he was again greeted with the news that he was about to 
be made a Cardinal. This time there was no mistake, and 
on 18 December 1456 ^neas entered the Sacred College as 
Cardinal Priest of Santa Sabina. 

The two short years of his Cardinalate were probably 
among the happiest in ^Eneas s life. After hard work and 
many disappointments, he had at last achieved his am 
bition, and as he contemplated the life of cultivated ease 
and pleasant companionship which opened out to him in 
Rome, he felt as if he had left struggles and difficulties 
for ever behind him. His triumph was made sweeter by 
the knowledge that it had been won in the face of strenuous 
opposition. The members of the Sacred College feared 
that more scions of the Borgia family would be added to 
their numbers, and they protested to the last against any 
fresh creations. "No Cardinals ever entered the College 
with greater difficulty than we ; for rust had so corroded 
the hinges that the door would not open." 2 So wrote 
^Eneas, in a spirit of entire satisfaction, to a fellow-recipient 
of the red hat, the Bishop of Pavia. To Nicholas of Cusa, 
already a Cardinal of some years standing, he wrote beg 
ging him to leave his German bishopric in order to act as 
mentor and guide to his new colleague. 3 " Rome is the 
only country for Cardinals," he exclaimed, rejoicing at 
the thought that he need never leave Italy again. " Even 
if a man were born in the Indies, he would have either to 

1 Commentani, lib. i. p. 27. 

2 /Eneas Silvius to the Cardinal of Pavia (Opera, Ep. 195, p. 765), 
26 Dec. 1456. 

3 /Eneas Silvius to Cardinal Cusa (Opera, Ep. 197, p. 765), 27 Dec. 
1456. 



136 POPE PIUS II 

refuse the hat, or to seek Rome, the home and mother of 
us all/ 

Nevertheless, it was not in ^Eneas s nature to rest upon 
his laurels, and he had not been long a Cardinal before he 
found new objects to strive for, and fresh spurs to his 
ambition. In the first place, the new Cardinal found him 
self decidedly short of money. " Poor I was born, and 
poor I have remained ; my honour has increased, but not 
so my riches." l The bishopric of Siena, he had long com 
plained, was " as unfruitful as an elm tree," 2 and what 
with the disturbed state of the country, and the constant 
litigation arising out of the affairs of the see, his Vicar 
had hard work to make both ends meet. ^Eneas also suffered 
from being the most prosperous member of a large and 
needy family. His tastes were simple and books his only 
luxury, but he soon realised that he must add to his income, 
if he were to maintain himself with suitable dignity and 
satisfy the hungry crowd of poor relations who were for 
ever at his doors. Thereupon began a zealous hunt for 
vacant benefices which was conducted by means of his 
many friends in Germany. " When anything falls vacant 
in your country that you think we could obtain, pray 
inform us of it," 3 ^Eneas wrote to Heinrich Senftleben, one 
of the Imperial secretaries. Again, on the following day 
to another friend : " When you hear that any monastery or 
good canonry is vacant, let us know quickly." 4 On the 
death of the Bishop of Ermland, in 1457, he was elected as 
his successor by a section of the Chapter, but in spite of the 
Pope s support, he was never able to obtain possession of 
the see ; nevertheless, the citizens of the remote Baltic 
port are still proud to reckon ^Eneas Silvius among their 
Bishops. 5 Disappointments of this kind were of common 
occurrence, but ^Eneas himself confesses to deriving an 

1 Opera, Ep. 352, p. 830. 

2 ^neas to the Cardinal of Fermo, 22 Jan. 1454 (Weiss, Ep. 130 j 
Voigt, Ep. 348). 

3 Opera, Ep. 272, p. 793. 4 Opera, Ep. 273, p. 794. 

5 Cf. Voigt, vol. ii. pp. 223-32, for a detailed account of the episode. 



THE FALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE 137 

income of two thousand ducats from the German Church, 
only a fair reward, in his own opinion, for long service in 
Germany. 1 Yet he did not wish to exceed the limits of 
propriety or to appear unduly grasping. " It does not 
please us that another benefice should have been taken in 
our name in so short a time," he wrote to an over-zealous 
friend ; "we are most anxious not to displease this nation, 
but we are driven by necessity, for we must maintain a 
fitting position." 2 

Far more than riches, ^Eneas coveted an influential 
position in the Curia. A Cardinal who was not a Papal 
favourite, a member of a powerful Roman family, or the 
representative of some foreign power, tended to sink into 
obscurity, and this was a prospect which our hero could 
not even contemplate. Here again, his connection with 
Germany served him in good stead, and he lost no oppor 
tunity of asserting his claim to represent the Empire in 
Rome. More valuable still was his native talent for adapt 
ing himself to new surroundings, establishing easy relations 
with his colleagues, proving his worth, and making friends. 
Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, the Pope s ambitious nephew, 
found in ^Eneas an agreeable companion, who did not judge 
his youthful follies too harshly, and who was always ready 
to do him a service. On the other hand, Cardinal Orsini, 
who headed a rival faction in the College, lived on equally 
good terms with him. Towards his inferiors he was affable 
and easy of access ; his equals he treated with just sufficient 
deference to gratify their vanity. His tact, courtesy, and 
cheerfulness were unfailing. It is easy to understand that, 
while possessing few outward advantages, Cardinal Piccolo- 
mini soon came to occupy a unique position in the Curia, 
and that, as the advancing years of Calixtus in turned all 
thoughts towards another Papal election, ^Eneas should be 
thought of as a possible candidate for the throne of S. Peter. 

^Eneas s claim to be the chief representative of the 

1 Opera, Ep. 356. Cf. also Martin Mayr to /Eneas, Opera, p. 1035. 

2 Opera, Ep. 321, /Eneas to Johann Tolner, 4 Nov. 1457. 



138 POPE PIUS II 

Empire among the Cardinals was not allowed to pass un 
challenged. The Cardinal of Pavia considered that he had 
a right to the position, on the strength of his somewhat in 
glorious legatine mission to Germany for the promotion of 
the Crusade, and he was constantly interfering in German 
affairs, in a way that ^Eneas regarded as wholly unwarrant 
able. The latter was especially tenacious of his privileges 
where King Ladislas was concerned, and when Pavia 
carried his interference into this quarter it was a case of open 
warfare. " We beg you to see to it that when His Holiness 
and the Cardinals are addressed on Hungarian affairs, we 
are made to appear greatly beloved by the King, as indeed 
we are ; for there are certain persons here who wish to sup 
plant us, as if they were more royal than we ... and it 
would be unjust if new-comers were allowed to usurp our 
position." l So wrote ^Eneas to a Hungarian friend, when 
he had reason to fear the activity of his rival. Every 
incident in ecclesiastical politics was turned to the pur 
poses of this unseemly feud : if .Eneas supported one 
candidate for a vacant bishopric, Pavia promptly sup 
ported another, generally to find himself worsted by one 
whose experience of German affairs was greatly superior to 
his own. ^Eneas had too intimate a knowledge of Germany 
to make the struggle equal, but, in spite of the satisfaction 
which he derived from his rival s discomfiture, he was con 
scious of the brevity of royal memories, and his letters show 
that he had a nervous fear of being supplanted and for 
gotten. When a new Papal envoy, Lorenzo Rovarella, was 
sent to effect a reconciliation between the Emperor and 
Ladislas, ^Eneas wrote anxiously to Senf tleben : " The man 
burns with an incredible desire to appear German and 
the arbiter of Germany, but if the King is wise he will con 
tinue to make use of one with whom he has eaten a bushel 
of salt." 2 In this frame of mind nothing could be more 
welcome to him than the fresh difficulties which arose between 

1 Opera, Ep. 246, p. 782, To Nicolao Listio, 10 March 1457. 

2 Opera, Ep. 311, p. 811, 2 Nov. 1457. 



THE FALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE 139 

the Papacy and the German Church. Directly the friction be 
came serious, he, with his long experience as a mediator, was 
the one person who could be of use : Cardinal Piccolomini 
was as active and as important as he wished to be. 

The trouble arose in 1456, when the German princes 
began to make sporadic efforts after reform, their zeal 
taking the usual shape of a combined attack upon Pope 
and Emperor. At one moment both Frederick and Calixtus 
were in danger of deposition, and the threat of a Pragmatic 
Sanction for Germany was brandished, sword-like, over the 
Pope s head. But, as usual, the Diets from which great 
deeds were expected, achieved little but empty words, and 
when ^Eneas was drawn into the struggle, matters had 
already reached the stage at which individual reformers 
were willing to be bribed into abandoning their revolution 
ary designs. In August 1457, Martin Mayr, the Chancellor 
of the Archbishop of Mainz, wrote to congratulate ^Eneas 
on his Cardinalate, and he made this friendly letter the 
vehicle for a detailed indictment of the Pope s dealings 
with the German Church. 1 The ruthless disregard of the 
principle of free capitular election, the shameless sale of 
benefices, the use of reservation as a means of enriching 
members of the Curia, these and numerous other forms of 
Papal extortion were the burden of Mayr s complaint. 
The grievances were genuine enough, but ^Eneas read 
between the lines of the letter, and realised that its true 
purport was to show that the Archbishop of Mainz, hitherto 
the leader of the reforming party, was prepared to enter 
upon separate negotiations with the Pope. With skill 
born of experience, he at once took the necessary steps to 
complete the process of dissolution. In his answer to 
Mayr 2 he assured him of the Pope s readiness to redress any 
grievances which the Electors would point out, and the 
Archbishop of Mainz promptly acted upon the suggestion, 
sending an envoy to Rome in the following month who 

1 Martin Mayr to ;neas Silvius, Opera, p. 1035. 

2 Opera, Ep. 369. 



140 POPE PIUS II 

was able to effect an understanding between Calixtus and 
his some-time opponent. Meanwhile ^Eneas wrote secret 
instructions to his many friends in Germany as to the 
part which it behoved them to play. 1 He supplied the 
Emperor with an appropriate defence of the Papal policy, 2 
and he suggested to the Pope the exact degree of cordiality 
or severity which he should use towards the various digni 
taries of the German Church. 3 So well did he do his 
work that when the death of Ladislas in November 1457 
turned the thoughts of Germany into another channel, this 
sad event gave the final blow to a movement that was 
already dead. The only permanent importance of the 
whole episode lies in the fact that it produced the Ger- 
mania, that vivid picture of fifteenth-century Germany, 
one of the best and most characteristic of ^Eneas s literary 
works. 

De ritu, situ, conditione et moribus Germaniae* to give it 
its full title, was an expansion of ^Eneas s original answer 
to Martin Mayr. It was an attempt to vindicate the Papal 
policy in Germany by showing the degree of power and 
prosperity to which the country had attained under the 
auspices of the Catholic Church. Thus it is frankly a 
political pamphlet, a forcible statement of one side of 
the question, containing much that is open to argument, 
and much that is exaggerated and over-coloured. Neverthe 
less, it surpasses all other descriptions of the day, because 
there was no one who knew Germany so intimately as 
^Eneas, and who possessed, at the same time, the artist s 
vision and the artist s power of reproduction. Smiling 
cities and noble churches, fertile lands and broad rivers, 
the prosperity of the merchants, the power and wealth 
of the princes, both ecclesiastical and lay all these are 
portrayed in the Germania, to the delight of generations 

1 Cf. Opera, Epp. 320, 331, 335, 337, etc. 

2 Calixtus in to Frederick in, 31 Aug. 1457 (written by ^Eneas in 
the Pope s name), Opera, Ep. 371, p. 840. 

3 Cf. Voigt, vol. ii. p. 237. 4 Opera, pp. 1035-86. 



THE FALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE 141 

of German patriots, who have forgotten, if they were ever 
aware of, the circumstances which led to its production. 

The Germania is not alone among ^Eneas s writings at 
this period. Comparative leisure and access to good libraries 
gave him opportunities for literary work which he had not 
enjoyed before. During his brief career as Cardinal he 
was at work on his History of Frederick III, carrying it 
down to the death of King Ladislas. He also compiled the 
Euro-pa, a preliminary collection of materials which he 
hoped to weave into a Cosmographia, or historical and 
geographical treatise upon all parts of the known world. 
Finally, in the summer of 1458, when he was staying at 
Viterbo, taking baths for his gout, he beguiled the time by 
writing a History of Bohemia, a country in which he had 
taken special interest since the days of his first encounter 
with the Hussites at Basel. He intended to offer the 
book to his friend King Alfonso, and he had already com 
posed the dedication when he heard that the great patron 
of humanism had breathed his last (June 1458). A few 
weeks later his peaceful villegiatura was interrupted by the 
news of the death of Calixtus in (6 August). Cardinal 
Calandrini, Nicholas v s nephew, who had also been taking 
baths in the neighbourhood, came hurriedly to Viterbo, 
and he and ^Eneas set out together for Rome. Both Car 
dinals were considered possible candidates for the Papacy, 
and the Romans, who had set their hearts upon an Italian 
Pope, gave them a demonstrative welcome as they rode 
into the city. On 16 August, in the Vatican Palace, the 
Cardinals entered the Conclave. 



CHAPTER VII 
THE PAPAL ELECTION 

AT the Papal election of 1458 the College of Cardinals 
numbered twenty-four members. Of these, Car 
dinals Carvajal and Scarampo were away on special 
missions, the one in Hungary, the other in charge of the 
Papal fleet ; Nicholas of Cusa had remained faithful to his 
own diocese of Brixen, in spite of ^Eneas s efforts to entice 
him to Rome ; the Bishop of Augsburg was one of those 
purely German ecclesiastics who never visited the Curia ; and 
two Frenchmen, Cardinals Rolin and de Longueil, were also 
absent from the Conclave. Thus the choice of the new Pope 
lay with eighteen Cardinals, divided into various groups for 
national, political, or personal reasons, and divided also in 
their own minds as to whether they should press for the 
candidate whom they most desired, or direct their energies 
solely to opposing him whom they most disliked. 

Perhaps the most prominent member of the College 
was Guillaume d Estouteville, the powerful and wealthy 
Cardinal of Rouen. In his Church of S. Maria Maggiore 
the best music and the most eloquent preachers of the 
day were to be heard, and his magnificent palace was 
the centre of a brilliant and cultivated society. He had 
a faithful supporter in the Cardinal of Avignon, and 
of the possible candidates for the Papacy, he seemed, on 
the whole, the most likely to succeed. Among the Italian 
Cardinals, the Orsini and the Colonna each had their 
representative in the College. Genoa was represented by 
her Archbishop, Cardinal Fiesco, and Milan by ^Eneas s 



THE PAPAL ELECTION 143 

bete noire, the Cardinal of Pavia, a member of the ancient 
family of Castiglione. Cardinals Barbo and Calandrini 
were nephews of former Popes, while old Cardinal Tebaldo 
was a protege of Calixtus in, being the brother of his 
favourite physician. These, with ^Eneas the Cardinal 
of Siena, made up a body that was numerically strong, 
but which possessed little cohesion, and no very obvious 
head. Calixtus in had taken care that the Spanish con 
tingent should be large. His two nephews, Borgia and de 
Mila, the Bishop of Zamora, and the Portuguese princeling, 
Don Jayme, were all his creations. There were also two 
Spaniards of older standing, Cardinal Cerdano, and the 
theologian, Torquemada. The converts from the Greek 
Church, Bessarion and Isidore of Russia, stood somewhat 
apart from the rest, their eyes fixed on the East, and 
only desirous of choosing a Pope who would place the 
Crusade against the Turk in the forefront of his policy. 

Such was the motley company which gathered in the 
Vatican in the hot August weather, and it was difficult 
to predict upon whom the choice of the Conclave would 
fall. The situation was complicated by the fact that the 
one person whom all parties would have supported had 
died two days before. This was the learned and saintly 
Cardinal Domenico Capranica, who had given ^Eneas his 
start in life when he passed through Siena, twenty-seven 
years earlier, and whose timely decease left the way 
clear for his former secretary to ascend the throne of 
S. Peter. Many of the Italian Cardinals, confronted by the 
difficulty of agreeing upon another candidate, were inclined 
to give a reluctant assent to the election of Estouteville, but 
there were forces outside the College to be reckoned with. 
To Ferrante, the new King of Naples, struggling to hold 
his father s throne against rebel barons and Angevin 
claimants, it was of the utmost importance to prevent the 
choice of a Frenchman. A French Pope in Rome would 
create a centre of Angevin influence on the borders of the 
Neapolitan kingdom, and Ferrante was doing everything 



144 POPE PIUS II 

in his power to avert so great a misfortune. He was aided 
by Francesco Sf orza, who was keenly alive to the danger of 
French predominance in Italy. The measure of success 
which their diplomacy had achieved can be gathered from 
the report which the Milanese ambassador forwarded to 
his master on the eve of the Conclave : " Although God has 
shattered our designs by taking to Himself the most worthy 
Cardinal of Fermo (Capranica), I have called reason to my 
counsel in this great misfortune, and I hope, with God s 
help, to bring matters to a satisfactory conclusion. I am 
not without hope of Cardinal Colonna, but the Cardinal of 
Siena seems to me more probable, seeing that all parties 
are most inclined to agree upon his election, including the 
envoys of King Ferrante." l 

Before the Cardinals entered the Conclave, Domenico de 
Domenichi, Bishop of Torcello, preached to the assembled 
College, taking as his text Acts i. 24, " Thou, Lord, which 
knowest the hearts of all men, shew of these two the one 
whom Thou hast chosen." Humanism had gained an 
entry even into the proceedings of a Papal election, and all 
the fire and eloquence of the new learning were thrown 
into the Bishop s appeal to his hearers to consider the 
gravity of their responsibility, and to choose a Pope w r ho 
would deal worthily with the great problems which lay 
before him. 2 After the sermon the members of the Con 
clave spent the remainder of the day in settling in to their 
new quarters. Separate cells were provided for the Car 
dinals in a large hall of the Vatican, and there were corridors 
where they could meet or walk about. 3 The actual busi 
ness of election took place in the Chapel of S. Nicholas, 
where Fra Angelico s frescoes in their pristine glory smiled 
upon the assembly. 

17 August was devoted to the business of drawing up 
the Capitulations, which each Cardinal swore to observe 

1 Otto de Carretto to the Duke of Milan, 14 Aug. 1458 (Pastor, vol. iii. 
Appendix I.). 

2 Pastor, vol. iii. p. 8. 3 Commentarn, lib. i. p. 30. 



THE PAPAL ELECTION 145 

in the event of his becoming Pope. This attempt to bind 
the Pope in embryo, before endowing him with unlimited 
authority, dated, apparently, from the election of Boniface 
viii. 1 The actual Capitulations varied on each occasion, 
and they had gained a new prominence from the conciliar 
movement, which raised the whole question of the nature 
of Papal authority and the place of the Cardinals in the 
Constitution of the Church. If the Capitulations of 1458 
had been strictly observed, they would have transformed 
the Papacy from a monarchy into an oligarchy. 2 The 
Pope was pledged to prosecute the Crusade " according to 
the counsel of his brothers the Cardinals," and to undertake 
the reform of the Curia with their advice and help. He 
might not move the Curia without their consent, or make any 
ecclesiastical appointments, save to small and unimportant 
benefices. With regard to the government of the States of 
the Church, the consent of the Cardinals was declared neces 
sary to the granting of fiefs, the declaration of war, and the 
imposition of fresh taxes. An article which was entirely 
new to the occasion required the Pope to make a monthly 
allowance of a hundred ducats to every Cardinal whose 
total income was under 4000 ducats. It is possible that 
this demand for the Piatto Cardinalizio, 3 as it came to be 
called, was partly owing to the financial straits in which 
the Cardinal of Siena so frequently found himself. The 
weak point of the Capitulations lay, however, in the absence 
of any power to enforce them upon an autocratic Pope. 
It was decreed that the Cardinals should meet once a year 
to inquire into their due observance, and that, if they found 
that the Pope had failed in his duty, they should " ad 
monish him in love " three times. Yet if the third admoni 
tion did not produce the desired effect, no other remedy was 
suggested, nor, indeed, was any remedy possible save an 

1 Cf. Pastor, vol. i. p. 283. 

2 Raynaldus, 1458 (Pius II, i.), Nos. 5-8 for text. Raynaldus, 1352, 
No. 25, gives the Capitulations of the year 1352. 

3 Cf. Pastor, vol. iii. p. n. 

IO 



146 POPE PIUS II 

appeal to a General Council, which the Cardinals considered 
as dangerous and undesirable as did the Pope himself. 

The preliminaries being accomplished, the real work of 
the Conclave began, and after Mass the next morning the 
first scrutiny was held. 1 A golden chalice was placed on 
the altar, and three Cardinals kept watch over it as the 
rest advanced, one by one, to drop in the paper on which 
they had recorded their vote. When the chalice was 
emptied, it was found that the Cardinals of Siena and Bo 
logna had each five votes, while no one else had more than 
three. But the first scrutiny seldom represented more 
than a preliminary testing of opinion, and after the Car 
dinals had adjourned for breakfast, a series of conferences 
began among the various groups, which continued through 
out the day. " The richest and most powerful members 
of the College," ^Eneas tells us, " summoned the others to 
their side, and solicited the Apostolic See for themselves 
or their friends. They entreated, they promised, they 
threatened, and some threw aside all modesty and did not 
blush to sound their own praises and set forward their own 
claims to the Papacy." 2 Foremost in these intrigues was 
the Cardinal of Rouen, who saw that both ^Eneas and 
Calandrini were dangerous rivals, and therefore directed 
his energies mainly towards undermining their position. 
" But most of all he feared ^Eneas, holding his silence to be 
far more formidable than the clamourings of the others." 3 
" What is there in this man," he urged, " that makes you 
consider him worthy of the Papacy ? Will you give us a 
Pope who is poor and gouty ? How can a poor man relieve 
the poverty of the Church, or one who is sick heal her dis 
eases ? He has but lately come from Germany. How can 
we tell that he will not transfer the Curia thither ? And 
what does his learning signify ? Would you set a poet on 

1 The account of the proceedings of the Conclave rests on the authority 
of ,-Eneas. Cf. Commentavii, lib. i. pp. 30-2. The important passages 
omitted from the printed edition but contained in the original MSS. 
are given by Lesca, pp. 429-38, and by Cugnoni, pp. 784-9. 

2 Lesca, p. 429 (MS. of Commentarii, lib. i.). 3 Ibid., p. 430. 



THE PAPAL ELECTION 147 

S. Peter s throne, and allow the Church to be ruled by the 
precepts of heathen philosophy ? As to Philip of Bologna 
(Calandrini), he is a thick-headed man who can neither 
rule by himself nor profit by the advice of others. I, on 
the other hand, am a Cardinal of senior standing ; you know 
that I am not without wisdom or experience in ecclesiastical 
affairs. I have royal blood in my veins. I abound in 
friends and riches, and I am willing to use them in the cause 
of the Church. I am in possession of not a few benefices, 
and these I shall distribute among you on vacating them." l 
So well did these tactics succeed that, when evening came, 
Estouteville could reckon with tolerable certainty on eleven 
votes. He only needed one more to obtain the requisite 
majority of two- thirds of the Conclave. " When it was 
seen that eleven had agreed, no one doubted that there 
would soon be a twelfth, for, once matters had advanced thus 
far, some one would certainly rise and say, * I will make you 
Pope, and so obtain favour." 2 Such was ^Eneas s view of 
the situation, and the Cardinals retired to rest feeling that 
the election was practically decided. 

In the middle of the night yEneas was roused from his 
slumbers by Cardinal Calandrini, who had come to give 
him some friendly advice. Now that Estouteville s election 
was assured, he urged his colleague to get up at once, and 
go and offer his vote, so as to escape the unpleasant con 
sequences of being out of favour with the new Pope. 
" I know what it is like to have the Pope as an enemy," 
said the unfortunate Calandrini. " I experienced it under 
Calixtus, who never turned a friendly eye upon me, because 
I did not vote for him." But ^Eneas was fashioned after 
a different pattern, and Calandrini s timid proposals only 
roused his fighting instinct. " I reject your counsel, 
O Philip," he exclaimed; "no one shall persuade me to 
choose one whom I think unworthy to be the successor of 
S. Peter. . . . The Pope cannot kill me if I do not vote 
for him. But, you say, he will not love you or succour 

1 Lcsca, p. 430. 2 Ibid., p. 431 



148 POPE PIUS II 

you, and you will suffer poverty/ As to that, poor I have 
lived and poor I can die. I shall not be deprived of the 
Muses, who are kinder to those of slender fortune. More 
over, I cannot believe that God will suffer His Bride the 
Church to suffer ruin at the hands of Estouteville. . . . 
To-morrow will show a Pope chosen, not by men, but by 
God. You are a Christian ; take care that you do not choose 
as Christ s Vicar him whom you know to be a limb of the 
devil." i 

This outburst of vehemence was the first step in a 
determined effort on ^Eneas s part to rally the Italian 
Cardinals in defence of their nation, and to defeat the 
French conspiracy. As soon as day dawned he went to 
his friend Borgia, and asked him why he had been so 
short-sighted as to promise his vote to Rouen. " I con 
sulted my own interests, and fell in with the majority," 
Borgia replied. " I have a written promise that I shall not 
lose the Vice-Chancellorship. If I do not vote for Rouen, 
others will elect him, and I shall be deprived of my office." 
" Foolish youth ! " retorted^Eneas. " You have your promise, 
but the Cardinal of Avignon will have the Chancery. What 
is promised to you is also promised to him, and can you 
doubt with whom faith will be kept ? " 2 .^Eneas next 
sought the Cardinal of Pavia, and adapting his argument 
to his hearer, appealed not so much to motives of self- 
interest as to patriotism and family pride. He reminded 
him that his revered uncle, Cardinal Branda Castiglione, 
had been active in restoring the Papacy to Rome at the 
time of the election of Martin v. Would the nephew 
undo the uncle s work and help to transfer the Papacy 
to France ? Whoever else might waver, he had never 
doubted that Pavia would stand firm. He had been sadly 
deceived in his opinion of him. Overcome by these re 
proaches, Pavia explained amid tears and sighs that he had 
given his word to Estouteville, and could not go back upon 
it. "It has come to this, as far as I can see," replied .^Eneas, 
1 Lesca, pp. 431-2. 2 Ibid,, p. 433. 



THE PAPAL ELECTION 149 

with bracing frankness : " whatever course you take, you 
will be forced to play the traitor. It is for you to choose 
whether you will betray your Church and country, or the 
Cardinal of Rouen." l At this point, Cardinal Barbo 
took up the task, and assembling the Italian Cardinals 
in the Archbishop of Genoa s cell, he besought them " to 
prove that they were men, to consider their mother the 
Church and unhappy Italy, and, putting aside their own 
rivalries, to choose an Italian Pope." Thereupon the 
others proposed ^Eneas as their candidate, and, in spite of 
his modest protests, it was decided to support him at the 
morrow s scrutiny. 

The next day all met once more in the Chapel of S. 
Nicholas. Estouteville was one of the Cardinals in charge 
of the chalice, and as our hero advanced to record his 
vote, he whispered in his ear, " I commend myself to 
you, ^Eneas." " Do you commend yourself to a worm 
like me ? " 2 was the swift retort. When every one had 
voted, the papers were taken one by one from the chalice, 
and the names recorded on them read aloud. 3 At the 
conclusion Estouteville announced that the Cardinal of 
Siena had eight votes, but iEneas had kept careful note of 
the names as they were read out, and he bade him count 
again. Estouteville was obliged to own himself mistaken 
the Cardinal of Siena had nine votes. Only three extra 
votes were required to decide the election, and it was 
resolved to proceed by the method of accession in order to 
obviate the necessity of a fresh scrutiny. There followed 
a few moments of breathless silence. " All sat still in their 
places, with pale faces, as if rapt by the Holy Spirit. No 
one spoke, no one opened his mouth or moved any part of 
his body save his eyes, which rolled in every direction. 
Wonderful indeed was the silence and strange the appear- 

1 Lesca, pp. 433~5- * Ibid., p. 435. 

3 Each Cardinal filled up his paper in the following form : " Ego 
Petrus (sive Joannes sive alio nomine fuerit) in Romanam Pontificem 
eligo Aeneam Cardinalem senensem " (Commentarii, p. 30). 



150 POPE PIUS II 

ance of the men from whom proceeded neither voice nor 
movement." l Suddenly Cardinal Borgia rose to his 
feet. " I accede to the Cardinal of Siena," he said, and 
" his voice was like a sword in the heart of Rouen." 2 But 
^neas had enemies in the Conclave, and among them was 
Cardinal Torquemada, who had known him at Basel, and 
had not forgiven the part which he played there. At this 
point, Torquemada and Isidore of Russia tried to break 
off the proceedings by leaving the Chapel ; but no one 
followed them, and seeing that their device had failed, 
they soon returned. As they did so old Cardinal Tebaldo 
rose. " I also accede to him of Siena," he said; and the 
suspense became as acute as if they had felt the shock of 
an earthquake. At last Cardinal Colonna rose ; but as 
he was about to speak, Estouteville and Bessarion seized 
him on either side and tried to drag him forcibly from the 
Conclave. Protesting and resisting, he cried out, " I too 
accede to the Cardinal of Siena, and make him Pope." 
In a moment all opposition was at an end, and the Cardinals 
prostrated themselves at the feet of ^Bneas, the newly 
elected Pontiff. 3 

After the election had been confirmed Bessarion spoke 
in the name of the rival party, and assured ^Eneas that 
their only objection to him was on the ground of his physical 
infirmity. They felt that an active Pope was required in 
order to prosecute the war against the Turk. " But God s 
will is our will. He who has chosen you will supply what 
is lacking in your feet, and pardon our ignorance." " You 
think far better of us than we do of ourselves," ^Eneas 
answered. " You confine our imperfections to our feet ; we 
know that they extend further. We are conscious of in 
numerable failings which might have caused our rejection, 

1 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 30. 

2 Lesca, p. 436 (MS. of Commentarii). 

3 The nine Cardinals who voted for ^Eneas were Orsini, Calandrini, 
Barbo, Fiesco, and Castiglione of the Italians ; De Mila, Don Jayme, 
Cerdano, and Zamora of the Spanish party. The two Greeks, the two 
Frenchmen, and Torquemada opposed him. 



THE PAPAL ELECTION 151 

and we know of no merits that fit us for this high office. . . . 
We should not venture to accept the honour did we not 
know that the action of two-thirds of the Sacred College 
proceeds from the Holy Spirit, whom we must not disobey. 
We honour you, and those who acted with you ; if you 
thought us unworthy, you obeyed your conscience in refus 
ing to vote for us. You will be all equally dear to us ; for 
we do not ascribe our election to this person or that, but 
to the whole College and to God Almighty, from whom 
cometh every good and perfect gift." l Even at this crisis 
of his life, the inborn gift of appropriate speech did not 
desert him ; the Pontifical note rang out, clear and strong, 
in the first words that he uttered. 

The Cardinals proceeded to vest neas with the white 
Papal tunic, and asked by what name he wished to be 
called. " Pius," he answered, without hesitation. It 
was not of the early Christian saint and martyr, Pope 
Pius i, that he was thinking, but of Pius ^Eneas, 
Vergil s hero, a fitting sponsor for a humanist Pope. In 
this new name he signed the Capitulations : "I, Pius n, 
promise and swear, by God s help, to observe all and each 
of the above, as far as lies in my power, and as is consistent 
with the honour and integrity of the Apostolic See." 2 
Meanwhile the Cardinal s servants rushed to the new Pope s 
cell, and appropriated their customary booty in the shape 
of books, clothes, and money ; but of the last, remarks the 
owner dryly, they found very little. 3 The Roman mob 
also suffered disappointment from the comparatively un 
profitable results of the raid upon the Piccolomini palace ; 
some persons, however, contrived to mistake the cry " II 
Sanese " for " II Genovese," and plundered the palace of 
the wealthy Cardinal Fiesco instead. Directly he had had 
some food, Pius n went to S. Peter s, and having been 
seated upon the high altar over the relics of the Apostles, 

1 Commentaru, lib. i. p. 31. 

2 Raynaldus, 1458 (Pius II, i.), No. 8. 

3 Commentarii, lib. i. p. 31. 



152 POPE PIUS II 

he was installed on the Papal throne to receive the adora 
tion of the assembled multitude. 

So the fiercely contested election was decided, and all 
patriotic Italians rejoiced at the result. " We were in 
grave danger of having a French Pope," wrote Antonio da 
Pistoia to the Duke of Milan, " and there were such in 
trigues between Rouen and Avignon that it seemed almost 
impossible that the Papacy should not fall to one of them. 
God be praised that it has remained in Italy ! " 1 In 
Rome, the old people, who had witnessed several Papal 
elections, declared that they had never seen the city so 
carried away by enthusiasm. Ferrante of Naples, breathing 
a sigh of relief, hastened to send his heartfelt congratula 
tions ; Borso d Este ordered a three-days holiday in Ferrara 
to do honour to the occasion ; z Siena was almost beside 
herself with pride and delight. The citizens of the fair 
Tuscan Republic had been keeping their August festival 
with terror in their hearts. King Alfonso s death, Fran 
cesco Tomasio informs us, had left their arch-enemy, Picci- 
nino, " unoccupied by any war-like enterprise," and he had 
already threatened to expend his superfluous energies upon 
the luckless Sienese. 3 The Magistrates were debating the 
advisability of buying off his attack, when all fears were 
turned to rejoicing by the news that their own Bishop had 
been elected Pope. Agostino Dati, the Secretary of the 
Republic, has left a graphic account of the scenes of wild 
festivity to which Siena abandoned herself. 4 " Joy seized 
the hearts of the people directly the news was made known." 
Magistrates and private citizens, men and women, grown 
people and children, all rejoiced together, and every bell in 
Siena was set ringing. At night the whole city was illumi 
nated, and the citizens feasted at public banquets with 

1 Antonio da Pistoia -to Francesco Sforza, Rome, 21 Aug. 1458 (Pastor, 
vol. iii. Appendix 3). 

z Diario Ferrarese (Muratori, xxiv. p. 202). Borso also instituted a 
special race for the polio, offering a piece of green damask as the prize. 

3 Franciscus Thomasius, Historia Senensis (Muratori, xx. p. 56). 

4 Agostino Dati, Opera, pp. 84-5 (Senis, 1503). 




CORONATION OF PIUS II 
ABOVE (LEFT) THE IMPERIAL EAGLE, (RIGHT) THE ARMS OF THE PEOPLE AND COMMUNE or SIENA 

BELOW, THE CITY OF SIENA 

HOOK COVER OF THE BICCHERNA, 1460 

State A rchi-ves, Siena 



THE PAPAL ELECTION 153 

olive wreaths upon their heads. There was dancing in the 
Piazza and singing in the streets; " it was as if the golden 
age had returned." This first outburst of rejoicing was 
followed by festivities of a more formal kind, which con 
tinued without interruption until after Pius n s coronation. 
On that day, 3 September, a solemn service was held in 
the Duomo ; the Magistrates of the Republic attended in 
state, and Agostino Dati delivered an oration in the Pope s 
honour. The ceremonies concluded with a wonderful 
representation of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, 
accompanied by music and recitations. In the final scene 
Our Lady of Siena appeared in glory, wearing her crown, 
while "devout voices commended her sweet city to Pope 
Pius." 1 Meanwhile a splendid embassy, consisting of 
eight members, and supported by over a hundred horse 
men, made its way to Rome to bear the congratulations of 
the Republic to her illustrious son. Almost the sole dissi 
dent note, amid the general rejoicing, came from Florence. 
Here, hatred of Siena was a far stronger sentiment than love 
of Italy, and the Florentines could not bring themselves to 
rejoice over the honour which had befallen the rival Re 
public. " ^Eneas s election caused them much annoyance, 
and when passers-by greeted them in the streets, and in 
voked God s blessing upon them in the customary manner, 
they answered bitterly, He is occupied with the Sienese, 
and reserves all blessings for them. " 2 

And what was Pius n feeling, while his name was on 
every lip, and his election was discussed through the length 
and breadth of Europe ? To those who have attempted 
to understand the mystery of his character, it does not 
seem unnatural that, after all his wiles and struggles, he 
should be filled with an overpowering sense of misgiving 
at the thought of what lay before him. His was not an 
ignoble ambition ; he coveted a high position, not for its 
own sake, but as a means to fuller activity. Now that the 

1 Agostino Dati, Opera, p. 85. 

2 Lcsca, p. 438 (MS. of Commentarii, lib. i.). 



154 POPE PIUS II 

Papacy was actually his, the artist soul of him shrank 
back in terror lest he should fail to fill the position worthily. 
Merely to be Pope did not satisfy him. Had he the capacity 
or the physical strength to be a great Pope ? This was 
the question that perplexed his mind as his friends hung 
round him, surprised and troubled that he did not appear 
to share their happiness. Those who rejoice over so 
exalted a position do not think of the toils and dangers/ he 
said mournfully. " Now I must show to others all that I 
have so often demanded of them." l 

The situation which confronted the new Pope was 
enough to daunt the bravest spirit. The death of King 
Alfonso had upset the delicate equilibrium upon which 
the peace of Italy depended, and there were signs of 
trouble on all sides, both at home and abroad. Alfonso s 
illegitimate son, Ferrante, had indeed succeeded in estab 
lishing himself upon the Neapolitan throne, but his position 
was precarious in the extreme. Calixtus in had refused to 
recognise his accession, and, shortly before his death, had 
claimed Naples as a Papal fief, in the hope of bestowing 
the kingdom on his own nephew, Don Pedro Borgia. 
Charles vii of France was pressing the claims of his cousin, 
Rene of Anjou, and many of the Neapolitan barons were 
only awaiting the opportunity to rise in support of the 
Angevin cause. It was clear that Ferrante would not 
maintain his throne without a struggle, and when it came 
to fighting, what must be the attitude of the Pope ? Pius 
was convinced that Ferrante s triumph would best serve 
the interests of the Papacy in Italy, and personal feeling 
for Alfonso s son also inclined him to this side. Yet to 
support the Aragonese claimant would be to effect a revolu 
tion in Papal policy, and he would do so at the risk of 
offending France in the present condition of ecclesiastical 
politics, the chief power in Europe which it was necessary 
for the Pope to conciliate. German neutrality had long 
ceased to exist, but the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges 

1 Campano, Pius II (Muratori, vol. iii. pt. 2, p. 974). 



THE PAPAL ELECTION 155 

still remained, a thorn in the flesh of the restored Papacy, 
and one which Pius could only hope to extract by exer 
cising the utmost tact and diplomacy in his dealings with 
France. At the same time, the Neapolitan trouble reacted 
upon the States of the Church, and Piccinino invaded the 
Papal territories, seizing Assisi, Nocera, and Gualdo in 
Ferrante s name. Many of the Papal fortresses were in 
the hands of Catalan governors, appointed by Calixtus in, 
and Pius n was obliged to buy these men out, at a heavy 
price, in order to regain possession of the strongholds. 
The Castle of S. Angelo itself was occupied by Don Pedro 
Borgia until it was ransomed by the Cardinals for 20,000 
ducats. Thus there was work enough for the Pope to do 
in restoring order in his own dominions ; and, in the midst 
of his numerous lesser cares, the cry of the suffering East 
rang persistently in his ears. The Turks were advancing 
steadily into Europe; whatever else he might do or fail 
to do, the Crusade must occupy the first place in his 
policy. 

Faced by so vast and tangled a problem, it is not 
surprising that Pius faltered. The noble and pathetic 
Encyclical, in which he announced his accession to the 
faithful throughout Europe, is not merely a literary pro 
duction but a genuine expression of his feelings during these 
first anxious days. He has been called, he says, " we know 
not by what secret and dread decree," to the throne of 
S. Peter. " Conscious that we possessed neither the ability 
nor the strength of body to bear worthily so heavy a burden, 
we pondered long over what we ought to do. But we believe 
that the election of the Roman Pontiff proceeds, not from 
man, but from Divine inspiration, which may not be re 
sisted ; and we trust that He who, from the first foundation 
of the Church, has chosen the weak of this world to con 
found the strong, will endue us with His strength for the 
work of government. Thus, in the spirit of humility, 
desirous of acting rightly, and of serving rather than of 
commanding, we have bowed our necks to the yoke of 



156 POPE PIUS II 

Apostolic servitude. . . . And we pray your devotion, 
earnestly to entreat Almighty God that He will strengthen 
us by His grace and direct our ways." 1 

On 3 September, Pius n was crowned in S. Peter s by 
Cardinal Colonna, and then rode in solemn procession to 
the Lateran, the way being adorned by flags and banners, 
painted for the occasion by Benozzo Gozzoli. Yet it was 
noticed that the Pope looked careworn and sad in the 
midst of his splendour, and his nerves were shaken by a 
riot among the excited Roman populace which imperilled 
his passage through the city. But at last all was safely 
over, and Pius n took up his residence that same night in 
the Vatican. Here, once more, energy of spirits triumphed 
over physical infirmity, and he threw himself into his 
great task with all his old fire and enthusiasm. No Pope 
worked harder than he, no one composed so many of his 
own Bulls or made so many speeches. Undaunted by 
physical pain, from which he was rarely free, he went 
gallantly on his way, and only an occasional biting of 
the lip, or half-smothered exclamation, betrayed some 
thing of what his efforts cost him. As to the issue of his 
labours, the times in which he lived offered no scope 
for a Gregory or an Innocent, and the warmest admirer 
of Pius ii must agree with him in acknowledging that his 
imperfections were not confined to his feet. Yet if he fell 
short of actual greatness, it cannot be denied that he filled 
his high position worthily. During the six years of his 
Pontificate the throne of S. Peter was occupied by a man 
with an ideal before him, an ideal which he strove per 
sistently to realise. 

1 Pius ii dilectis filiis universitati studii Parisiensis, 5 Sept. 1458 
(Opera, Ep. 384, p. 859). 



CHAPTER VIII 
THE CONGRESS OF MANTUA 

^ MONO the many cares which now took posses- 
/ \ sion of the Pope s mind, none was greater than 
J[ jL ms desire to stir up Christian people against 
the Turks, and to wage war upon them." x So wrote 
Pius ii at the beginning of the second book of his Comment 
aries ; and on the very day after his election he gave proof 
of his zeal by summoning the Cardinals to a conference upon 
the Eastern question. To the various envoys who visited 
him during the next few weeks, it was evident that the 
Turkish war occupied the first place in his thoughts. On 
12 October he announced his intention of summoning a 
Congress of Christian powers to Mantua, 2 in order to make 
plans for a Crusade. Few of the Cardinals welcomed the 
idea of leaving their comfortable quarters in Rome for 
what would probably prove to be a prolonged sojourn 
in a strange city, and they were sceptical also as to the 
advantage to be gained by a gathering of the kind. But 
the Pope s promptitude had taken them by surprise ; for 
very shame they could only praise his zeal and agree to his 
proposals. The next day the Bull Vocavit nos Pius, sum 
moning the Congress to Mantua on i June 1459, was read 
in a public consistory. It was dispatched forthwith to 
the rulers of Europe, great and small, accompanied by 

1 Commentarii, lib. ii. p. 33. 

2 Udinc was also named as an alternative, but the Venetians feared 
for their commercial relations with the Turk, and refused to allow the 
Congress to be held in their territories. Cf. Commentarii, lib. ii. p. 42. 



158 POPE PIUS II 

special letters urging that envoys worthy of the occasion 
might be chosen, and given full powers to negotiate upon 
matters relating to the Crusade. 1 

In view of his German experiences, Pius n s fervent 
belief in the efficacy of a European Congress is not alto 
gether easy to understand. Yet the many abortive Diets 
which he had attended had not quenched his humanist 
faith in persuasion, and he was besides profoundly con 
vinced of the virtue of his own office. He took comfort 
from the thought that the Congress of Regensburg had 
not been actively supported by Nicholas v, and promised 
himself very different results when the Pope presided over 
the Congress in person, and devoted all his efforts to ensur 
ing its success. 

From this time forward, preparations for the Pope s 
departure occupied all thoughts in Rome. The citizens 
were much disturbed at the prospect of the removal of the 
Curia, and of the pecuniary loss which it would entail. 
It was rumoured that the Congress of Mantua was a mere 
pretext for transferring the Papacy to Siena, or even to 
Germany, and Pius received numerous petitions urging 
him to abandon the project. In order to lessen the 
general discontent, he appointed Nicholas of Cusa, who had 
just returned from Germany, Papal Vicar in Rome and 
the Patrimony during his absence. Certain of the Car 
dinals and other officials also remained behind, to carry on 
the traditions of the Curia and to prevent the Romans 
from feeling themselves deserted. Antonio Piccolomini had 
already replaced Don Pedro Borgia as Governor of S. 
Angelo, and the death of the latter, in December, further 
helped to smooth the way of departure. It gave Pius 
an opportunity of conciliating a powerful party in Rome 
by appointing Antonio Colonna Prefect in Borgia s stead. 2 

1 Cf. Pastor, vol. iii. pp. 24-5. The Bull is given in Epistolae, ed. 
Mediol., Ep. i. 

2 Cf. Pastor, vol. iii. p. 28, and Infessura, Diario delta cittd di Roma 
(Muratori, iii. pt. 2, p. 1138). 



THE CONGRESS OF MANTUA 159 

Th barons of the Campagna were summoned to the 
Pope s presence to take a special oath of good behaviour, 
and a treaty with Ferrante provided at least a temporary 
solution of the Neapolitan problem. Pius agreed to 
recognise Ferrante as de facto King of Naples, while 
Ferrante on his side promised to pay an annual tribute, 
and to recall Piccinino from the States of the Church. 1 
Thus when the year 1459 dawned, Pius felt that he could 
leave Rome with a tolerably free mind. On 20 January 
he left the Vatican en route for Mantua. 

The journey to Mantua is the first of those progresses 
through Italy which form so characteristic and attractive 
a feature of Pius n s reign. In summer and winter, cold 
and heat, the Papal cortege pursued its leisurely way. The 
record of these wanderings fills the pages of the Com 
mentaries, where Pius recalls the vivid impressions of light 
and colour, city and landscape, scenes actually witnessed 
and scenes painted by historical association, which he re 
ceived throughout the course of his pilgrimages. When 
the Pope left Rome on this occasion, winter reigned over 
the Campagna, and the crowds of weeping citizens, who 
accompanied him to the Ponte Molle, were too much for his 
easily roused emotions. 2 Yet in spite of the mournful sur 
roundings, Pius was in buoyant spirits. He was profoundly 
impressed with the consciousness of his divine mission, and 
the prophets of evil, who foretold the total loss of the States 
of the Church during his absence, left him unmoved. " God, 
in whose cause we set forth, will deal with us more kindly," 
he replied to them. " And even if Divine mercy should 
permit the loss you fear, we would rather be deprived of 
our temporal possessions, which have been often lost and 
often recovered, than suffer injury to our spiritual power, 
which would be hard to restore if it were once weakened." 3 
The change of scene, the open-air life, the enthusiasm with 
which he was greeted everywhere, alike contributed to his 



Raynaldus, 1458, Nos. 30-49. 
1 Commentarii, lib. ii. p. 38. 



a Ibid., p. 39. 



i6o 



POPE PIUS II 



enjoyment. He felt that he was performing the clear duty 
of the Pope in a suitable and dignified manner, and there 
fore he was well content. 

Pius passed the first night out of Rome as the guest of 
the Orsini at Campagnano. The next day he crossed the 
Tiber by a new wooden bridge, gay with ivy and ever 
greens, and proceeded up the valley into Umbria. All 
along the road crowds flocked to welcome him. Priests, 
bearing the Host, invoked God s blessing upon his 
enterprise. Boys and girls, with laurel crowns on their 
heads and olive branches in their hands, came out to wish 
him health and happiness. " They who could touch the 
fringe of his garments held themselves blessed." l The 
fair cities through which he passed Narni, Terni, Spoleto, 
Foligno all donned their festal array to do honour to the 
Head of Christendom. At Spoleto he had the pleasure of 
spending four days with his sister Caterina, and from thence 
he passed to Assisi, the city which is " ennobled by the 
blessed Francis . . . who deemednothing richer than poverty." 2 
He was lodged in the fortress which Piccinino had made 
over to the Papacy only a few days before, and he could 
not but marvel that " a soldier of fortune should yield so 
well fortified a place, and one so well adapted for disturbing 
the peace of Italy ; he could only believe that it was the 
work of Divine mercy, which had put fear into Piccinino s 
heart lest the Congress of Mantua should be inter 
rupted." 3 

From Assisi, Pius crossed the Tiber valley to Perugia, 
where he arrived on i February, the Vigil of the Feast of 
the Purification. The great Guelf city had not received a 
Papal visit for nearly seventy years, 4 and she laid herself 
out to entertain her guest royally. " Although winter 
raged fiercely, the city was as gay as if spring had come." 5 

1 Commentarii, lib. ii. p. 41. 

2 Ibid., p. 42. 3 Ibid., p. 42. 

4 Not since Boniface ix fled from Perugia in 1393 (Campano : Muratori, 
iii. pt. 2, p. 975). Cf. Heywood, Perugia, p. 279. 
6 Commentarii, lib. ii. p. 42. 



THE CONGRESS OF MANTUA 161 

In the course of his three weeks stay in Perugia, Pius conse 
crated the Church of S. Domenico and ordered " a window 
of exceptional greatness behind the high altar to be filled 
with glass." x The Dominican Church, with its vast 
window, is familiar to every visitor to Perugia, but few 
realise its connection with Pius n. Meanwhile the Pope 
was casting longing eyes in the direction of Siena. He 
desired nothing more than to see his " sweet country " 
again, but he felt himself debarred from visiting her, owing 
to the quarrel which had already arisen between himself 
and the Republic over the admission of the Monte dei 
Gentiluomini to political power. Siena, however, was as 
anxious to receive the Pope as he was to come, and the news 
that he was about to visit the hated Florence proved too 
much for her powers of resistance. 2 An embassy was 
dispatched to Perugia entreating the Pope to honour his 
native city by his presence, and expressing the desire of 
the Republic to meet his wishes with regard to the Gentiluo 
mini. With a glad heart, Pius accepted the olive-branch 
and turned his steps into Tuscany. His way lay across 
Lake Trasimeno, which had lately been swept by storms, 
and presented an angry and forbidding appearance to the 
travellers. But when the Pope set foot on the vessel which 
was to carry him to the Tuscan shore, " suddenly, as if by 
Divine command, the waves were stilled, and the sea be 
came as a beast that had been tamed." 3 All that night 
and the following morning the calm continued, " and the 
inhabitants marvelled greatly that Trasimeno, which is 
stormy and intractable throughout the winter, should thus 
make itself navigable for the Pope s voyage." 4 The next 
few weeks were spent at Siena and Corsignano, where many 
happy meetings took place, and many old ties were re 
newed. 5 So pleasantly did the days pass that it was not 

1 Campano (Muratori, iii. pt. i, p. 975). 

2 Franciscus Thomasius, Historia Senensis (Muratori, xx. p. 58). 
8 Commentarii, lib. ii. p. 43. 4 Ibid,, p. 44, 

6 Cf. below, Chapter XII. 
II 



162 POPE PIUS II 

until 23 April, nearly two months later, that Pius resumed 
the road to Mantua. 

Throughout the time that the Curia was in migration 
the ordinary course of business went on unchecked. 
Embassies and letters flowed in at every stage of the 
journey, gradually making Pius familiar with the details 
of his work, and enabling him to gather up the diverse 
threads of Papal policy. At Perugia, the Pope s vassal, 
Federico, Count of Urbino, came to do homage and to 
take counsel about the war which he was waging upon that 
unruly feudatory of the Church, Sigismondo Malatesta, 
Lord of Rimini. To Siena came ambassadors from the 
kings of Aragon, Hungary, and Bohemia and other 
European powers, to offer obedience to the new Pope. 
Now on the road between Siena and Florence, Sigismondo 
Malatesta, having been beaten by Federico of Urbino, 
sought the mediation and protection of his over-lord. 
Other vassals of the Church also came to swell the Papal 
cortege, and Pius made his entry into Florence in a litter, 
carried by his attendant feudatories. Among them 
walked Galeazzo Maria Sforza, the sixteen-year-old son 
of the Duke of Milan, who had been sent by his father to 
escort the Pope to Mantua. Pius was pleased with this 
mark of attention, and could not say too much in praise of 
the handsome, well-mannered, gifted boy. " It was indeed 
astonishing to hear matured opinions coming from youthful 
lips, and the thoughts of old age uttered by a beardless 
youth." 1 Such was the humanist s comment upon Galeazzo s 
complimentary orations ; he delighted also in the boyish 
grace with which Galeazzo sprang from his horse to kiss 
the Pope s feet, and in the eagerness with which he put 
his shoulder to the litter and insisted on taking his share 
of work as a bearer. 

When the procession reached the gates of Florence, 
the magistrates of the Republic replaced the feudatories 
as bearers, and carried Pius in state to the Duomo, 
1 Commentarii, lib. ii. pp. 48-9, 



THE CONGRESS OF MANTUA 163 

At the sight of this queen among cities, in all the fairness 
of her spring beauty, Pius forgot his Sienese prejudices, 
and paid ungrudging tribute to the glories of Florence. 1 
The Duomo, the Baptistery of S. Giovanni, the Palazzo 
della Signoria, the Arno with her stately bridges, the 
villas "full of delights," smiling down from the encircling 
hills, each in turn made their appeal to him. Above all, 
he reverenced Florence as the home of famous men. In 
the city of Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, and their illustrious 
followers, the humanist Pope, even though he were a son 
of Siena, felt that he was treading on holy ground. Pius 
evinced much interest in the uncrowned monarch of 
Florence, Cosimo dei Medici, but he had no opportunity 
of intercourse with him. Whether from political motives 
or through genuine illness, Cosimo kept his bed throughout 
the Pope s visit. 2 

From Florence Pius made his way across the steep 
passes of the Apennines to find a less pleasant resting- 
place in the turbulent city of Bologna. 3 This hotbed of 
faction was a perpetual source of trouble to her nominal 
suzerain the Pope, and Pius s visit, on this occasion, was 
only made possible by the Duke of Milan, who sent a force 
of cavalry to keep the peace during his sojourn within the 
city. The sight of the Milanese soliders guarding the 
streets gave Pius a feeling of insecurity which he never 
lost until the time came for his departure. So electrical 
was the atmosphere that, when the city-orator embellished 
his address of welcome with remarks more true than tactful 
on the evils of civil strife, the citizens insisted on his exile. 
It was with considerable relief that Pius quitted Bologna, 
and passed to the splendours which waited him at Borso 
d Este s Court at Ferrara. The Pope s friendship with the 
Lord of Ferrara dated from Frederick m s Italian ex 
pedition, when Borso had gratified ^Eneas by claiming him 
as a kinsman. Borso now hoped to profit by this old 

1 Cowimentarii, lib. ii. pp. 49-51. a Ibid., p. 50. 

8 Ibid,, pp. 54-6. Cf. also Pastor, vol. iii. p. 56. 



164 POPE PIUS II 

intimacy to obtain the ducal title from his suzerain ; 
therefore he spared no pains upon the entertainment of 
his guests. The Pope was lodged in the Este palace, while 
the Cardinals were provided for among the Ferrarese 
nobility. The chief lords of Romagna also came to 
Ferrara for the occasion, and all alike were entertained 
at Borso s expense throughout their stay in the city. 1 
Needless to say, Pius took the keenest pleasure in the 
round of festivities provided for him, and perhaps most 
of all he enjoyed his conversations with the two veteran 
humanists Guarino and Aurispa. 2 But, in the midst of 
his enjoyment, he contrived to parry his host s importunity, 
and to leave Ferrara without committing himself upon the 
question of the ducal title. 

The long and varied progress was drawing to its close. 
On 25 May, Pius embarked upon Borso s sumptuously 
equipped vessel and sailed up the Po towards Mantua ; 
meanwhile the Marquis of Mantua s ship plied alongside, 
ready to receive the traveller from the moment of his 
entering Mantuan territory. The banks were lined with 
eager spectators, the valleys rang with the sound of 
trumpets, and the stately procession of boats, with banners 
fluttering in the breeze, made the river seem like a forest. 3 
Pius passed the night of 26 May in the immediate vicinity 
of Mantua, and on the following morning he made his 
solemn entry into the city. At the head of the procession 
rode three of the Cardinals, followed by twelve white, 
riderless horses with golden saddles and bridles. After them 
were carried three banners, one bearing the Cross, another 
the keys of the Church, and the third the arms of the 
Piccolomini. Behind walked the clergy of Mantua, and 
then came another white horse, carrying the Host in a 
golden box surrounded by lighted candles. A goodly 
company of nobles and ecclesiastics preceded the Pope, 
and last of all came the little, bent figure, resplendent in 

1 Diario Ferrarest (Muratori, xxiv. pp. 202-4). 

z CommentaYii, lib. ii. p. 57. 3 Ibid., p. 58, 



THE CONGRESS OF MANTUA 165 

purple and jewels, the centre of the magnificent throng. 
" The Holy Father is a little, rosy man, with red rims 
to his eyes, about sixty years of age. ... He is gouty 
and cannot walk, so that he is obliged to be carried." 1 
Such is the verdict of the Mantuan chronicler who watched 
the Pope make his entry into the city " in great triumph," 
and pass through the flower-bedecked streets to the lodgings 
prepared for him in the Gonzaga palace. 

The Mantuans, says Pius, " are a most courteous people, 

loving hospitality," 2 and nothing could exceed the 

enthusiasm of their welcome. Lodovico Gonzaga, the 

cultivated Marquis, was proud of the honour done to his 

little State, and, as the pupil of Vittorino da Feltre and 

the patron of Mantegna, he recognised a kindred spirit 

in the humanist Pope. His German wife, Barbara of 

Brandenburg, was also prepared to offer a cordial reception 

to one so closely connected with her home and friends. 

With her was Bianca Maria Sforza, Duchess of Milan, and 

her charming children, who had come to Mantua in order 

to greet the Pope on his arrival. On the day after Pius n s 

entry these ladies paid him a ceremonial visit, and Ippo- 

lita Sforza, a girl of fourteen, delivered an elegant Latin 

oration, which pleased the Pope as much as her brother s 

performance had done at Florence a few weeks before. 

" A goddess could not have spoken better," is the 

comment of one of the Cardinals who heard her. 3 The 

courtesy and enthusiasm of his hosts did much to obscure 

the fact that no foreign princes or ambassadors were 

present to meet the Pope. He had reached Mantua five 

days before his time. For the moment he could rest 

content with his own achievement, and trust that the 

Congress of Mantua might yet become the epoch-making 

gathering which his imagination pictured. 

1 Schivenoglia, Cronaca di Mantova, p. 135 (Raccolta di cronisti e 
documenti storici Lombardi inediti, vol. ii. Milano, 1857). 

2 Commentarii, lib. ii. p. 58. 

3 Scarampo to F. Strozzi, Mantua, 2 June 1459. Cf. Pastor, vol. iii. 
p. 60. 



166 POPE PIUS II 

On i June, High Mass in the Duomo opened the proceed 
ings of the Congress. At the conclusion of Mass Pius 
showed by a sign from the throne that he wished to address 
the assembled multitude. In a weak, faltering voice he 
began by expressing his deep disappointment at finding so 
small a company present to meet him at Mantua. " We 
had hoped, brethren and sons, to find many envoys of 
kings when we came to this town. Few are here, and we 
see that we were mistaken ; the devotion of Christians to 
their religion is not as great as we believed." Yet the 
Pope, who in spite of age and sickness had " despised the 
Apennines and the winter," was not prepared to yield at 
the first sign of defeat. He had resolved to remain at his 
post so long as there was any hope of fresh arrivals, and he 
begged those already at Mantua to pray that the powers of 
Christendom might yet be moved to send representatives 
to the Congress. " If they come, we will consult with them 
over the Commonwealth ; if not, we shall be obliged to 
return home, and to bear the lot which God sends us. We 
will never desert the defence of the Faith so long as life 
and strength remain to us ; nor shall we falter if we are 
required to lay down our life for the sheep." l 

So began the weary weeks of waiting, a time of severe 
trial to anyone of Pius s eager, impatient disposition. He 
spent the long days in composing letters, of ever increasing 
urgency, which went out from Mantua to every corner of 
Europe, imploring Christian powers to attend the Con 
gress. " We expected the princes to come hither, or at 
least to send their envoys if they could not come them 
selves, and we are greatly astonished that none have 
arrived." 2 So wrote Pius to the Bishop of Eichtstadt. 
To the city of Bologna he wrote : " Again and yet again we 
exhort you in the Lord, and straitly charge you to neglect 

1 Commentarii, lib. iii. p. 60. Cf. also Mansi, Pius II Orationes, vol. ii. 
p. 206. 

2 Pius ii to John, Bishop of Eichtstadt, 31 May 1459 (Pastor, vol. iii. 
Appendix n). 



THE CONGRESS OF MANTUA 167 

your duty no longer," 1 and a week later to the Duke of 
Savoy, " Up to the present day we have not ceased to 
expect the envoys which you have so long promised to 
send." 2 But his pleading fell on deaf ears. The 
Christian powers regarded the Crusade as an excellent 
cause, which had their heartfelt approval, but for which 
they were not prepared to make sacrifices. They wished 
to avoid attending the Congress, lest their approval should 
involve practical consequences, and they should find them 
selves committed to an expensive foreign war in which 
they had no personal interest. As early as January 1459, 
the Emperor had made up his mind not to come to Mantua, 
and the envoy who bore his excuses gave a variety of 
reasons which made it necessary for Frederick to remain 
at home. Pius, however, was accustomed to dealing with 
Frederick in. " Your answer . . . meets neither our ex 
pectations nor the necessities of the case," he retorted. 
" If you stay away, there is no one who will not think 
himself sufficiently excused. For the honour of the 
German nation, for the glory of your name, for the welfare 
of the Christian religion ... we entreat you to recon 
sider the matter and to incline your mind towards attend 
ing the Congress." 3 Knowing the Emperor as he did, it is 
hard to believe that Pius ever thought he would come to 
Mantua in person, but he probably hoped that plain- 
speaking might frighten the timid Emperor into sending 
a distinguished embassy. Great was his vexation when the 
Imperial embassy arrived headed by three Court officials, 
the Bishop of Trieste, Johann Hinderbach, and Heinrich 
Senftleben. They were excellent and capable men in their 
way, and the two last were personal friends of the Pope, 
but they possessed neither the rank nor the influence 
which would enable them to speak with weight at 

1 Pius II to Bologna, 28 July 1459 (Pastor, vol. iii. Appendix 17). 

2 Pius ii to Louis of Savoy, 6 Aug. 1459 (Pastor, vol. iii. Appendix 20). 

3 Pius ii [to Emperor Frederick in, 26 Jan. 1459 (Pastor, vol. iii. 
Appendix 5). 



i68 POPE PIUS II 

the Congress. Pius flatly refused to acknowledge them 
as the Emperor s representatives at Mantua, and wrote 
to demand that more honourable ambassadors should be 
sent in their place. His letter to Frederick in was couched 
in less stinging words than the Commentaries would have 
us believe, but it was sufficiently indicative of his dis 
pleasure. "It is small honour to you," he wrote, " that, 
in so high a cause, your envoys should not yet be here. . . . 
We exhort you to send ambassadors with full powers, and 
of such rank that they can represent your person worthily 
at this Congress. . . . Those whom you have already sent 
to us see clearly that they are not fitted for such a task 
and are gladly returning to you." 1 After five months of 
waiting, the Pope s persistency was rewarded by the arrival 
of the Margrave Charles of Baden and two Bishops to act 
as the Emperor s representatives. Other princes followed 
the Imperial lead, and before the end of the year a respect 
able contingent of German ambassadors was gathered in 
Mantua. Yet it soon transpired that all these envoys 
treated the essential object of the Congress as a matter of 
secondary importance. Dragged to Mantua by the Pope s 
pertinacity, they seized the opportunity for airing their 
own grievances against the Papacy, and for furthering 
their own interests. The attitude of the Germans is 
typical of that of other nations. The Congress of Mantua 
was never a Congress in the true sense of the word. It was, 
rather, a succession of embassies from Italian and ultra 
montane powers to the Pope at Mantua. Coming at the 
beginning of Pius n s pontificate, it was a valuable intro 
duction to the details of European policy in their relation 
to the Papacy, and it did much to make him deal with them 
successfully. Yet, as a Congress on the Eastern question, it 
was almost as great a failure as its forerunner of Regensburg. 

1 Pius ii to Frederick in, I June 1459 (Voigt, vol. iii. p. 50). Cf. also 
Commentarii, lib. iii. p. 65, and Pastor, vol. iii. pp. 63 seq. Apparently 
the Bishop of Trieste and his colleagues remained at Mantua as Imperial 
agents in spite of what was said about their departure. 



THE CONGRESS OF MANTUA 169 

Some weeks elapsed before even these half-hearted em 
bassies began to struggle into Mantua. Meanwhile Pius 
had to cope with the clamours of the Eastern envoys who 
thronged his palace, piteously demanding aid against the 
Turk, and with the murmurs of the Cardinals, many of 
whom were only anxious to find an excuse for returning to 
Rome. " The place was marshy and unhealthy," they com 
plained, " the heat was raging, there was no good wine or 
food to be had, many people were ill with fever, and soon 
there would be many dead ; there was nothing to be heard 
but the croaking of frogs." 1 Chief among the grumblers 
was Cardinal Scarampo, who went about " among his 
household, and even in the circle of the prelates, declaring 
that the Pope s schemes were childish, and that he showed 
little experience or prudence in leaving Rome and wander 
ing among strange hosts, thinking to move kings to war by 
his exhortations and to destroy the invincible forces of the 
Turk " 2 Ere long Scarampo betook himself to Venice, 
where he did his best to prejudice the Venetians against the 
Crusade. Old Cardinal Jacopo Tebaldo, also, waxed elo 
quent over the Pope s folly in coming to Mantua and putting 
money into the pockets of strangers while his own Romans 
were left in poverty. " How true is the popular saying 
that it is the worst wheel of a chariot which creaks the 
loudest ! " is Pius s comment upon his detractor. " Jacopo 
did not attain to the Cardinalate on his own merits but on 
those of his brother, who was the doctor of Pope Calixtus." 3 

In spite of discouragement and disapproval the Pope 
stuck to his post, and in the end his perseverance did not 
go unrewarded. Many powers had doubted whether he 
would really come to Mantua, and had postponed the 
question of sending envoys until after his arrival. Others 
had procrastinated, in the hope that the Pope would grow 
tired of waiting and that the news of his departure would 
rid them of an irksome duty. But the Pope s staying 

1 Commentarii, lib. iii. p. 61. 

2 MS. of Commentarii, lib. iii. ; Cugnoni, p. 195. 3 Loc. cit. 



170 POPE PIUS II 

powers were stronger than those of the princes. On the 
i8th of August l the monotonous spell of waiting was 
broken by the arrival of an embassy from the Duke of 
Burgundy. A brilliant company, headed by the Duke s 
nephew John of Cleves, and Jean de Croy, had entered 
Italy a week or two earlier, amid " very great rain, and hail 
like stones falling from heaven." 2 Francesco Sforza met 
the envoys outside Milan and conducted them to the 
splendid apartments which he had prepared for them in 
his palace, " with a good fire to revive them, which was 
indeed a welcome sight." 3 So agreeably were the 
Burgundians entertained that it was some time before they 
left Milan for Mantua. When at last they arrived at their 
destination, John of Cleves refused to discuss the Crusade 
until he had obtained satisfaction in a matter at issue 
between himself and the Archbishop of Cologne. The 
town of Soest having rebelled against the Archbishop, 
Pius ii had issued an admonition to the citizens to return 
to their rightful allegiance. But John had taken Soest 
under his protection, and demanded that the admonition 
should be withdrawn. "The matter so fell out that it 
was necessary either to forsake the path of justice for the 
time being, or to dissolve the Congress before it had 
accomplished any work. For if Cleves departed in anger 
many others would not come to the Congress, but would 
greedily seize the opportunity for remaining at home. 
The Pope was anxious, and uncertain what to do ; it was 
grievous to him to deny justice to those who asked it of 
him, yet he considered it less dangerous to suspend justice 
than to leave the Catholic Faith undefended. . . . He 
therefore withdrew the admonition, to satisfy Cleves, 
and promised Cologne to renew it after these matters 
relating to the Faith had been concluded." 4 So the 

1 Cf. Pastor, vol. iii. p. 71. 

2 ,Matthieu de Coussy, Chronique, p. 216 (Choix de Chroniques et 
Memoires sur I histoire de France, ed. Buchon, vol. viii.). 

3 Op. cit., p. 217. 4 CommentaHi, lib. iii. p. 68. 



THE CONGRESS OF MANTUA 171 

temporalities of the Archbishop were sacrificed to the 
crusading cause, but, even after this concession, Cleves 
was loath to commit himself to any promises of aid. 
After much negotiation, he at last agreed that Burgundy 
should send 2000 horse and 4000 foot into the field. Then, 
to the great disappointment of the Pope, he and his 
colleagues left Mantua, regardless of Pius s entreaties 
that they should remain to confer with the other embassies, 
whose arrival he was daily expecting. 

The next episode in the history of Pius n s sojourn at 
Mantua began with the arrival of Francesco Sforza. One 
day in September a sumptuous fleet of forty-seven vessels 
sailed up the Mincio, and crowds turned out to gaze upon 
the soldier-Duke who had made all Italy ring with the 
fame of his exploits. Pius was delighted to see Sforza 
again and to renew the friendship which had been begun, 
ten years before, in the camp outside Milan. The Duke 
was fast approaching his sixtieth year, yet " he rode like 
a youth," and seemed to the Pope to be in every way 
worthy of his high position. 1 Sforza s coming was of real 
value to the Congress, and the ceremony of his reception 
was made as impressive as possible. Pius n s former 
master, Francesco Filelfo, acted as spokesman for the 
Duke, and the Pope himself made the answering oration, 
in which he called Filelfo " the Attic Muse," and extolled 
Sforza as a true Crusader a model for all Christian 
princes. 2 For all that, it had necessitated considerable 
pressure on the Pope s part to bring Sforza to Mantua, 
and it may be doubted whether he would have come at all, 
had it not been for his anxiety to secure Pius n finally for 
the cause of King Ferrante in Naples. Sforza was ready 
enough to give the Pope a little encouragement in his 
laudable endeavour to drive the Turk from Europe, if by 
so doing he could obtain Papal aid in keeping the French 
out of Italy. 

The news that the Duke of Milan was in Mantua roused 

1 Commentarii, lib. iii. p. 72. 2 Ibid., p. 73. 



172 POPE PIUS II 

the Italian powers to action. Envoys from Florence, 
Venice, Genoa, and other States at last made their appear 
ance, and the Sienese ambassador could report that 
he found himself in "a fair Mantua . . . adorned by 
the presence of many Bishops, Lords, Ambassadors, and 
Courtiers." 1 On 26 September, nearly four months after 
the opening of the Congress, the first formal sitting was 
held. A Mass of the Holy Spirit was sung in the Duomo, 
in the presence of " a very great number of people of 
every nation," and at its conclusion the Pope delivered 
" a long and most elegant oration which lasted for the 
space of two hours." 2 Many feared that the Pope s voice 
would not be equal to the strain, but enthusiasm carried 
him triumphantly over physical disabilities. " Although 
he was suffering at that time from a grievous cough, he 
was so aided by Divine power that he did not cough once, 
or experience the slightest hindrance in speaking." 3 This 
oration ranks among the best and most famous of Pius 
n s rhetorical efforts. All his deep sympathy with the 
Eastern Christians, all his learning, all his oratory, were 
thrown into his impassioned utterances. He appealed 
in turn to the pride, to the pity, and to the ambition of his 
hearers, determined to leave no note unsounded that might 
awaken a responsive thrill in the hearts of the people. 
To Pius, all on fire with zeal for the holy cause, it seemed 
almost impossible that his audience should remain cold. 
As he looked down upon the crowded Cathedral his 
thoughts flew from the hard Renaissance world to the 
bygone ages of faith. He remembered the inspired 
gathering at Clermont, four centuries earlier. " Would 
that there were here to-day," he cried, " Godfrey or 
Baldwin, Eustace, Hugh the Great, Bohemund, Tancred, 
and others who, in past days, won back Jerusalem. They 

1 Dispatch of N. Severino, 25 Sept. i45g^(Pastor, vol. iii. p. 75). 

2 Francesco Sforza to his wife, Mantua, 26 Sept. 1459 (cf. Pastor, 
vol. iii. Appendix 27, from Archivio di Stato, Milano). 

3 Commentavii, lib. iii. p. 82. 



THE CONGRESS OF MANTUA 173 

would not have suffered us to speak so long, but rising 
from their seats, as once they did before our predecessor 
Urban n, they would have cried with glad voice, Deus lo 
vult, Deus lo vult ! " 1 

" If an appreciation of eloquence had borne any practical 
fruit, the Turk would soon have been driven back into 
Asia." 2 Many praised the Pope s speech, but few were 
prepared to act upon his exhortations. On the following 
day a conference was held upon the ways and means of 
carrying out the war. Here the tedious haggling over 
details and the reluctance of the envoys to commit them 
selves to any definite scheme contrasted sadly with the 
stirring scenes of the day before. Sforza, like most old 
soldiers, was always pleased to give advice on military 
questions. At his suggestion it was agreed that Hungary 
and other countries on the Turkish border should provide 
troops for the Crusade, Italy and other more distant States 
supplying the money. The Venetians pronounced that 
thirty galleys and eight smaller vessels should suffice for 
the naval operations, and Pius summed up the discussion 
by saying that some 50,000 troops would be required, which 
could be paid for by a tax of a tenth on the revenues of the 
clergy, a thirtieth on those of the laity, and a twentieth on 
all the possessions of the Jews, to be levied for three years 
in succession. " All approved of the Pope s decision," 3 
but, when Pius tried to make the various representatives 
sign the proposals, it was soon seen that the scheme was 
theoretical rather than practical. The Florentines had to 
be won over by a separate agreement, and the Venetians 
flatly refused to sign, except on conditions that were ob 
viously impossible. Meanwhile, the Duke of Milan felt 
that he had done his duty by the Congress, and was anxious 
to depart. On 3 October he left Mantua, the other envoys 
began to melt away, and Pius could only make the best of 

1 Mansi, Pii II Orationes, vol. ii. p. 9. Cf. also Opera, Ep. 397. 
a Creighton, History of the Papacy, vol. iii. p. 224. 
* Commentarii, lib. iii. p. 84. 



I 7 4 POPE PIUS II 

the small result which he had obtained. Outwardly he 
maintained a brave face, but in a letter to Carvajal he 
reveals his bitter disappointment. " To confess the truth," 
he writes, " we do not find such zeal in the minds of 
Christians as we hoped. We find few who have a greater 
care for public matters than for their own interests." x t 

In the middle of October Pius took a brief holiday, in 
which he stayed at the venerable sanctuary of S. Maria 
delle Grazie, five miles outside Mantua. A record of his 
visit is preserved in the life-size effigy which has its place 
in the remarkable series of statues of famous men who have 
visited the Church. 2 His companions now urged that he 
had done all that was possible at Mantua, and that the time 
had come to return to Rome. But Pius was determined 
to await the arrival of the French and German embassies, 
and after four days he was back at his post. 

Before the end of the month the envoys of Archduke 
Albert of Austria, the Emperor s brother, reached Mantua. 
Save for the Emperor s discredited representatives, they 
were the first Germans to appear at the Congress, but the 
Pope s pleasure in their arrival was spoiled by the sight of 
his old enemy, Gregory Heimburg. When the envoys had 
an audience with the Pope, Gregory acted as their chief 
spokesman. It was unnecessary, he began, for him to 
sound the praises of the house of Hapsburg. Had not 
" the famed and laurel- crowned ^Eneas" won the highest 
praise for an oration on the subject on an earlier occasion ? 
For himself, he would be content " with dry words and 
ungarnished speech." 3 Heimburg was even rude enough 
to keep his hat on during the audience. He must be ex 
cused, he said, from uncovering his head, for, if he did so, 
the cold would spoil the effect of his oration. This act of 

1 Raynaldus, Annales, 1459, No. 78. 

2 Pius n s statue bears the following inscription : 

"Dopo le cure dolorosi e gravi, 
Chiuso il concilio, il successor di Piero, 
A te porge Maria ambe le chiavi." 

3 Voigt, vol. iii. pp.J77 seq. t from Cod. msc. lat. 522, fol. 156, 161, Munich. 



THE CONGRESS OF MANTUA 175 

discourtesy and the thinly veiled sarcasm of his words 
were proof that Heimburg had come to Mantua intending 
mischief. Throughout his stay he was " a sower of much 
discord." 1 Convinced himself of the Pope s duplicity, 
he contrived to foster the opinion that the Crusade was 
a mere pretext for raising money, and the failure of the 
German envoys to arrive at any common understanding 
was largely his work. He also helped to create ill-feeling 
between Pius and his former pupil Sigismund, Duke of 
Tyrol, who came to Mantua in order to refer a private 
quarrel with the Bishop of Brixen to the Pope s judgment. 
Heimburg introduced Sigismund to the Papal presence in 
a speech which contained covert allusions to discreditable 
episodes in the Pope s earlier life, when the Emperor s 
Italian secretary had aided the youthful Sigismund in his 
love adventures. The name of ^Eneas, he said, was deeply 
imprinted on Sigismund s mind " by sweet-sounding poems 
and by many unforgettable letters," and he rejoiced to 
think that such a "jewel of eloquence" adorned the Apos 
tolic See. 2 The outcome of the interview was that 
Sigismund and the Pope parted from each other sore and 
angry, and that the Brixen quarrel dragged out its weari 
some course during the greater part of Pius n s pontificate. 
By the time that Heimburg left Mantua he was amply 
avenged for the mortifications which he had endured in 
the summer of 1446, when he paced restlessly over Monte 
Giordano beneath the malicious eye of ^Eneas Silvius. 

With regard to the Crusade, the utmost that Pius 
could obtain from the Germans was a renewal of the 
promises made at former Diets. All details were left to 
be settled by representatives of the German nation and the 
Papal Legate, in conference at Niirnberg. 3 Cardinal 
Bessarion, one of the few whole-hearted supporters of the 
Pope s crusading policy, was appointed Legate for this 

1 Commentarii, lib. iii. p. 90. 

2 Voigt, iii. pp. 100 seq., from the Munich MS. (Cod. lat. 522, fol. 61). 

3 Raynaldus, Annales, 1459, No. 72, and 1460, No. 18, 



176 POPE PIUS II 

purpose, and Pius set a seal upon the deliberations by 
nominating the Emperor as general of the crusading army. 
The phlegmatic Frederick could hardly be considered as an 
ideal Crusader, but he was empowered to appoint some 
other prince in his stead, and the man upon whom Pius had 
set his heart was Albert Achilles of Brandenburg. Pius 
had long been urging Albert s attendance at the Congress, 
and his arrival in Mantua, at the close of 1459, shed a lustre 
over the final proceedings. Albert s manners had im 
proved since the days when he had shocked ^Eneas s sense 
of decorum by bursting in upon the Emperor at Neustadt, 1 
and, as the head of the Imperial party in Germany, he was 
anxious to be on good terms with the Pope. Many were 
his protestations of zeal for the Holy War, to which Pius 
replied by hailing him as " the German Achilles " and 
bestowing on him a consecrated sword with which to do 
battle against the Turk. 2 

In midst of these somewhat profitless negotiations 
with the Germans, a French embassy at last arrived in 
Mantua. From the point of view of the Crusade the 
Pope s deliberations with the French were as unsatisfactory 
as all the proceedings of the Congress, but in matters 
nearer home he achieved a success which did much to 
strengthen his position in Europe. Two facts accounted 
for the strained relations which existed between the Pope 
and the French king. On the one hand, the Pragmatic 
Sanction of Bourges still remained in force, a standing 
menace to the Pope s authority over the Church in 
France. On the other hand, the Pope had defied the 
claims of the French prince, Rene of Anjou, by acknow 
ledging Ferrante of Aragon as King of Naples. Thus 
all parties were in a state of nervous apprehension when 
the French embassy rode into Mantua on 14 November. 
Pius feared that the French would throw down the 
gauntlet by refusing to make the customary obedience to 
the new Pope, and the French on their side were equally 
1 Cf, above, p. 124, z Commentary , lib. iii. p. 91. 



THE CONGRESS OF MANTUA 177 

uncertain of the reception which would be accorded to 
them. 1 

To the relief of every one, the first audience passed 
off without a hitch, and the obedience of the French 
nation was proffered amid a great display of oratory on 
the part of the Bishop of Paris and of the Pope. 2 But the 
crux of the situation was reached on 30 November, when 
the French envoys came before the Pope to plead the 
cause of Rene of Anjou. The Bailli of Rouen was the 
spokesman of France, and he dwelt upon the services 
rendered by his nation to the Apostolic See, in return for 
which, he said, " Pius had spurned the noble blood of the 
Lilies, and had preferred that of Aragon." 3 Now he 
called upon the Pope to annul his " unjust and ill- 
considered " investiture, and to exalt the rightful heir, 
Rene of Anjou, to the throne of Naples. Pius was thus 
forced to declare himself, but he refused to reply until he 
had consulted the Cardinals, and eventually postponed 
his answer for several days on the plea of ill-health. The 
French regarded this as a mere excuse for gaining time, 
but Pius tells us that he was " seized by severe pain in 
the stomach and by a racking cough." 4 At last, " weak 
and oppressed with bitter pain, the Pope left his bed 
chamber for the audience hall, and seated himself upon 
his throne, pale and anxious." As he began to speak 
his strength revived, and the words flowed from his lips. 
He " sang the praises of the French far better than the 
Bailli," and explained that, in investing Ferrante, he had 
merely recognised the status quo, expressly safeguarding 
the rights of Anjou. 5 Then, by a clever stroke of 

1 Cf. Nicholas Petit (D Achery, Spicilegium, vol. iii. pp. 806 seq.) : 
" Croy que nostre dit Saint Pere aura matiere pour lever les oreilles. 
Plusieurs de Messieurs les Cardinaulx qui encores ne savent reflect de la 
matiere font doubte de Tissue." 

2 Commentarii , lib. iii. p. 86; Mansi, Orationes, vol. ii. p. 31. An 
alternative oration which the Pope had prepared in the event of the 
French not proffering obedience is to be found in Mansi, vol. ii. p. 219. 

3 Commentarii, lib. iii. p. 87. * Loc. cit. 
6 Loc. cit,, and Mansi, vol. ii. pp. 40 seq. 

12 



178 POPE PIUS II 

diplomacy, he turned the subject, and raised the whole 
question of the Pragmatic Sanction. The French King 
complained of the Pope s action in Naples, but the Pope s 
grievance against the French was far greater. They had 
promulgated a law against the Apostolic See which hung 
like thick darkness over the land and imperilled the souls 
of the people. In vain the ambassadors strove to defend 
themselves. They employed no argument that the 
Pope did not promptly dissipate ; ashamed, confused, and 
silent, they showed that they were vanquished." l The 
Cardinals were filled with delight at this vigorous champion 
ship of the rights of the Papacy. " Never," they said, 
" in the memory of our fathers, have words been spoken 
so worthy of a Pope." Pius, meanwhile, returned 
cheerfully to his bed-chamber, to find that he had made 
a complete recovery ; " the warmth of his oration had 
driven all cold from his body." 2 

When the French and German embassies had come 
and gone, Pius n s business at Mantua was well-nigh 
completed. All that remained was to put the coping- 
stone upon his work. On 18 January 1460 he published 
the Bull Execrabilis, which condemned the practice of 
appealing from the Pope to a future General Council as 
an " execrable abuse, unheard of in former times." All 
such appeals were pronounced invalid, and any person 
who made or in any way promoted them was declared 
excommunicate. 3 The Bull Execrabilis was a strange 
edict to emanate from a former champion of the Conciliar 
movement. But Pius had learned, by bitter experience, 
what abuses appeals to a future Council could be made 
to serve. He knew that the Conciliar movement was 
dead, and that its principles had become mere instru 
ments of obstruction in the hands of a self-seeking op 
position. Thus he seized the opportunity to strengthen 
the monarchical constitution of the Church, and to 

1 Commentarii, lib. iii. p. 88. 2 Ibid., p. 87. 

3 Ibid., pp. 91-2 ; Raynaldus, 1460, No. 10. 



THE CONGRESS OF MANTUA 179 

vindicate the Papal authority. By this means alone could 
he hope to realise the aims of the Congress of Mantua, 
and to unite Christendom beneath the crusading banner. 

The Congress of Mantua closed, as it had begun, with 
High Mass in the Cathedral. At the conclusion of the 
service, Bulls were read decreeing a three years Crusade 
against the Turk, and ordering prayers for its success 
to be offered every Sunday in all Christian churches. 
Indulgences were granted to all who took part in the 
Crusade for eight months, or who paid and equipped a 
soldier for the same period; decrees were also published 
embodying the schemes for raising money which had 
been passed at the September session. 1 Then, in a farewell 
speech, Pius summed up the results of the Congress. 2 
" We confess," he said, " that all that we hoped has not 
been achieved, yet neither has all been left undone . . . 
nay, far more has been done than was prophesied by 
many." After exhorting the faithful to do their utmost, 
and to leave the rest in God s hands, he left the Papal 
throne, and kneeling before the high altar, chanted, 
amidst tears and sighs, a Litany which he had arranged 
for the occasion. The whole body of clergy devoutly 
responded, and the Litany ended with a solemn prayer 
for God s blessing upon the Crusade 

" Almighty and Everlasting God, who in Thy mercy 
hast redeemed the human race by the Precious Blood 
of Thy Beloved Son, and hast raised the world lying in 
darkness to the light of the Gospel, we beseech Thee 
that all faithful Christian princes and people may, in this 
time of visitation, so valiantly take up arms against the 
impious Turks, scorners of the Gospel, and all other 
enemies of the Saving Cross, that, fighting for the glory 
of Thy Name, and upheld by the strength of Thy arm, 
they may win victorious trophies for Thy Church." 3 

1 Cf . Raynaldus, 1460, Nos. 1-7. 2 Mansi, vol. ii. p. 78. 

3 Mansi, Orationes, vol. ii. pp. 84-6, where the Litany is also given. 
Cf. Commentarii, lib. iii. p. 93. 



i8o POPE PIUS II 

Rising from his knees, the Pope dismissed the assembly 
with his blessing. On 19 January he left Mantua. 

The Congress of Mantua, if it had done nothing else, 
had given Pius n an insight into the exact nature of his 
position. By the time that his long sojourn in Mantua 
drew to its close, the threads of Papal policy were all in his 
hands. The chief problems of his reign had been touched 
upon, friends and foes alike had revealed themselves ; and 
for a clear-sighted politician like himself, it was not hard to 
estimate the measure of success which he would achieve. 
As ruler of the States of the Church, and one of the chief 
territorial powers in Italy, he had every reason for en 
couragement. Francesco Sforza had given ample proof 
of the support which he was prepared to offer to one who 
saw eye to eye with him over Neapolitan affairs, and Milan 
and the Papacy, together, had every hope of bringing their 
championship of the House of Aragon to a triumphant 
conclusion. As spiritual sovereign of Europe, Pius could 
look back on the Congress with some satisfaction. He 
had raised the prestige of the Papacy in the sight of every 
European nation, and, more especially with regard to 
France, he had given bold expression to its claims. If the 
Pragmatic Sanction were once abandoned, the last trace 
of the Conciliar movement would be wiped out, and the 
restored Papacy would issue forth in new glory from the 
period of humiliation through which it had passed. In 
one aspect alone, and in that which appealed most strongly 
to all that was best and noblest in his nature, Pius could 
derive little satisfaction from the proceedings of the Con 
gress. As champion of the crusading cause, his sole source 
of inspiration lay in his own high courage. By sheer 
force of will, he had shamed Europe into some semblance 
of activity. Yet it was clear that the fair show of pre 
paration would vanish at the first contact with reality, and 
that the Congress of Mantua was but the first act of the 
tragedy which was to culminate five years later at Ancona. 
Thus the Congress is not only an introduction, it is also an 




\. MEDAL BY ANDREA GUACCIALOTTI. (OBVERSE) PORTRAIT OF PIUS II 

2. GOLD DUCAT OF PIUS ITS PONTIFICATE. (REVERSE) S. PETER WITH 

KEY AND BOOK 

3. GOLD DUCAT OF PIUS IIS PONTIFICATE. (OBVERSE) PICCOLOMINI 

ARMS SURMOUNTED BY TIARA AND CROSSED KEYS 

4. MEDAL BY ANDREA GUACCIALOTTI. (REVERSE.) THp; PELICAN IN HER 

PIETY 
Inscription : ALES UT HEC CORDIS PAVI DE SANGUINE NATOS 

Rritisfi Mitsfin/t 



THE CONGRESS OF MANTUA 181 

epitome of Pius n s reign. Prosperity in all things Italian, 
comparative success in the affairs of Europe, in the East 
failure which the personality of the Pope alone prevented 
from being absolute. And both the smaller and the larger 
picture are set against a background of leisurely journeys 
and pleasant sight-seeing which lends to them a peculiar 
and fragrant atmosphere. The magic of Italian scenery 
illumines the record of these Papal pilgrimages, in which 
Pius, the artist and the man of letters, enters upon his 
heritage. 



CHAPTER IX 
PIUS II AND ITALY 

BEFORE Pius left Mantua war had broken out 
in Naples, and many eyes were turned towards 
the Pope to see what part he would play in the 
struggle. He had invested Ferrante of Aragon with the 
Neapolitan crown, but this, as he was at pains to explain 
to the French envoys, was merely a temporary expedient. 
It was one thing for the Pope to recognise the existing 
King of Naples in order to be able to leave Rome without 
fear of reprisals from a hostile neighbour; it was quite 
another to fly in the face of Papal tradition, and to uphold 
Ferrante against an Angevin claimant who had actually 
made his appearance in Italy. Nevertheless, this was the 
course which Pius n had made up his mind to pursue. 
The events of the last year had convinced him that the 
cause of peace and the welfare of the States of the Church 
both called for an alliance between the Papacy and the 
strong powers of Italy. As an Italian prince the friend 
ship of Francesco Sforza was more valuable to him than 
that of France, while the presence of a strong and friendly 
power in Naples was, from his point of view, the best of 
the alternatives which presented themselves. The old 
policy of the Popes had been to encourage the French 
claims to Naples, in order to keep the kingdom weak and 
incapable of offence to the States of the Church. Yet 
past experience had shown that disturbance in Naples in 
evitably spread to the Papal territories, and that what 

the Pope chiefly required in the ruler of Naples was a 

182 



PIUS II AND ITALY 183 

guardian of the peace. " Can Rene drive out Piccinino 
from the States of the Church ? " Pius asked the Arch 
bishop of Marseilles when he pleaded the Angevin cause in 
Rome. The Archbishop could only reply in the negative. 
" Then what have we to expect from him if he cannot help 
us in our distress ? We need a man in the kingdom who 
can protect both himself and us." l So Pius threw in his 
lot with Ferrante, and the Neapolitan succession war takes 
the first place in the history of his reign in Italy. 

From the moment of Alfonso s death, the great feuda 
tories of the kingdom, notably Marino da Marzano, Prince 
of Rossano, and Giovanni Antonio Orsini, Prince of Taranto, 
determined not to acquiesce in the rule of Ferrante. The 
man of whom Philippe de Commines wrote that he was 
" without grace or mercy " had already won an evil re 
putation in the Neapolitan kingdom, and the appearance 
of benevolence which marked the early days of his rule did 
not deceive the barons as to his true nature. Their eyes 
had turned first towards Aragon, in the hope that Alfonso s 
brother and successor, John n, might be induced to challenge 
the right of his bastard nephew to the throne of Naples. 
Failure in this direction threw them back upon a less power 
ful candidate John of Calabria, the son and heir of the 
French claimant, Rene of Anjou. In the autumn of 1459, 
this Prince, " active both in mind and body," 2 landed in 
Neapolitan territory, and the smouldering fires of rebellion 
burst into flames at the signal of his coming. He brought 
with him a fleet of twenty-four vessels, which had been 
built at Avignon out of the proceeds of the Turkish tithes 
raised in France and were destined for the East. John, 
however, did not scruple to " arm against Christians ships 
built for the protection of Christians," 3 and the Cardinal of 
Avignon was a party to the theft. The Angevin claimant 
was greeted on his landing by the Prince of Rossano " with 
such affection and rejoicing as might have been shown to a 

1 Commentarii, lib. ii. p. 36. 

2 Ibid., lib. iv. p. 94. 3 Loc. cit. 



184 POPE PIUS II 

god come to earth." x He promptly won the Prince s 
goodwill by standing godfather to his infant son, and the 
fame of his talents and affability spread far and wide. 
Meanwhile Ferrante was absent in Calabria, where rebellion 
had already broken out, and, but for the promptitude of 
his Queen, he would have returned homejto find the Angevin 
banners floating over Naples. His difficulties were enor 
mously increased by the fact that the Prince of Taranto, 
as Grand Constable of the Kingdom, had the bulk of the 
military forces in his hands. All depended on the attitude 
of the other Italian powers, and Ferrante besought them 
to lose no time in sending aid if they wished to keep the 
foreigner out of Italy. The Pope and the Duke of Milan 
responded to the appeal. When the campaign of 1460 
began, Ferrante was aided by the Milanese forces under 
Alessandro Sforza, Lord of Pesaro, and by a Papal con 
tingent under Simonetto da Castello. The influence of Milan 
and the Papacy had also secured for him the services of the 
famous condottiere, Federico, Count of Urbino, the kinsman 
of Sforza and the vassal of the Pope. 

Pius paid a second visit to Florence on his journey 
south, and on this occasion he had an interview with 
Cosimo dei Medici, who expressed great surprise at the 
Pope s action in embroiling himself with France on 
Ferrante s account. " It would not conduce to the freedom 
of Italy if the French obtained the kingdom," was the 
Pope s pertinent reply ; " in protecting Ferrante, Italy is 
protecting herself. Moreover, honesty demands that we 
should do this, owing to the treaties that were made with 
Alfonso ; it is not permitted to us to break faith, as others 
do." 2 This was a word in season to Cosimo, who had 
entered into alliance with Naples at the Peace of Lodi 
(1454), and yet was not moving a finger in Ferrante s 
defence. His personal opinion on the Neapolitan question 
probably coincided with Pius n s, but he could not turn 

1 Costanzo, Storia del regno di Napoli, vol. iii. p. 194. 

2 Commentari i, lib. iv. p. 96. 



PIUS II AND ITALY 185 

Florence from her traditional French policy. So " Cosimo 
praised the Pope s decision, and confessed that the mass 
of mankind will do nothing for the sake of justice unless 
constrained by expediency or fear. He then asked, not 
without modesty, that his nephew might be numbered 
among the Cardinals." 1 

From Florence Pius made his way to Siena, where he 
intended to spend the summer. He arrived on 31 January 
1460, and took up his residence in his beloved city to watch 
the course of the Neapolitan war. Some days before his 
arrival in Siena, he learned that the condottiere, Jacopo 
Piccinino, had joined the Angevin faction, and was hurrying 
to Naples. He had already heard of Piccinino s intentions 
from Borso d Este, who warned him that Piccinino was a 
dangerous enemy, and offered his services as a mediator. 
But Pius, knowing that the Lord of Ferrara was " more 
French than the French " in his sympathies, suspected 
treachery and rejected his offers. 2 Alessandro Sforza and 
Federico of Urbino at once received orders to keep watch 
for Piccinino in Romagna, and to try to prevent him from 
crossing the Neapolitan frontier. He, however, contrived 
to elude their vigilance, and slipped across the Tronto in 
order to raise the Angevin standard in the Abruzzi. Mean 
while the Papal troops under Simonetto were sent to join 
Ferrante, who was engaged in besieging John of Calabria 
in Sarno. This strong natural fortress, situated on the 
steep hillside, and protected at its base by the rushing 
waters of the Sarno, had struck Pius s notice during his 
travels in the Neapolitan kingdom in 1456. It was thus 
with personal knowledge of the strategical situation that 
the Pope watched the vicissitudes of the siege. 3 John of 
Calabria had collected his forces in what appeared to be 
an impregnable retreat, intending to await the arrival of 

1 Commentarii, lib. iv. p. 96. The nephew was Filippo del Medici, 
Bishop of Arezzo. Cf. Pastor, vol. iii. p. 294 note. 

2 Commentarii, lib. iv. p. 96. 

3 Cf. Commentarii, lib. i. p. 27, and lib. iv. pp. 104-5. 



i86 



POPE PIUS II 



Piccinino before taking the open field. But although 
Sarno could not be taken by assault, it could be starved 
into surrender ; and as the summer wore on, and the blockade 
continued, the Angevins were on the point of yielding. 
Ferrante s troops, however, were clamouring for pay, and, 
on 7 July, he rashly countenanced an attack on Sarno in 
the hope of booty. The result was a crushing defeat for 
his cause. The Angevin forces routed the besieging army, 
and the Pope s general, Simonetto, who had thrown the 
weight of his advice against the attack, was killed in 
battle. 1 Ferrante escaped with a handful of cavalry 
to Naples, leaving his camp to be ransacked by the 
enemy. 

Hard upon the battle of Sarno came the news of another 
disaster. On 22 July Piccinino fell upon Federico of 
Urbino and Alessandro Sforza at San Fabbiano, and drove 
them back across the Tronto. This double defeat spread 
panic among Ferrante s supporters, and on all sides the 
friends of Anjou raised their heads. " Christ fought for 
us at Sarno," exclaimed the Angevin envoy at the Papal 
Court ; " if He is on our side, we do not trouble about His 
Vicar." To which Pius replied, " You have known before 
this that Christ s Vicar is against you, and you will know 
it even more certainly in the future. . . . With all my 
strength, O Italy, will I succour you, and never suffer 
strangers to have rule over you." 2 These were brave 
words, but Neapolitan and Milanese authorities show that 
the Pope s behaviour, during this time of trial, was not so 
entirely courageous as he would have posterity believe. 
Pius was aware that his support of Ferrante was a new and 
even dangerous experiment. From the first a strong party 
in the Curia was opposed to his policy, and even the Ara- 
gonese themselves seemed hardly able to believe that 
he was in earnest. Report said that Ferrante made his 
rash attack on Sarno because he feared to delay longer 

1 Cf. Costanzo, vol. iii. pp. 205-10. 

2 Commentarii, lib. iv. p. 106. 



PIUS II AND ITALY 187 

lest the Papal forces should be recalled. 1 Others declared 
that Pius had connived at Piccinino s unhindered passage 
through Romagna from a selfish desire to prevent warfare 
in Papal territory. 2 Pius was fully alive to these currents 
of feeling, and while his friends suspected him, the Angevins 
never relaxed their efforts to win him to their side. For 
a person of his susceptibility, it became increasingly difficult 
to carry out a policy that was looked upon as strange and 
unprecedented. From the time of the reverses of July 
1460, he began to waver. During the next two years it 
needed much persuasion from Francesco Sforza and 
several bribes from Ferrante to keep him true to his 
purpose. 

On hearing of the Pope s vacillations, Ferrante made a 
bid for his support by yielding his rights over Terracina 
to the Church, and by presenting to the Pope s nephew, 
Andrea, the little town of Castiglione della Pescaia, on the 
Tuscan coast, together with the adjacent island of Giglio. 3 
These gifts sufficed to keep the Pope firm during the 
campaign of 1461, when his troops rendered valuable 
assistance to the Aragonese in the neighbourhood of Naples. 
The balance of success in this campaign lay on the whole 
with Ferrante. Yet with Apulia, Calabria, and Abruzzi 
each a separate centre of disaffection, success in one province 
often meant defeat in another. Pius was not far from the 
truth when he compared the Neapolitan war to a seven- 
headed monster : "if Ferrante succeeds in winning one 
battle, the enemy are seven times victorious." 4 To a 
nervous temperament, wholly without military experience, 
these vicissitudes were a severe strain, and time after time 
the Duke of Milan had to bring his soldierly common sense 

1 Cf. Costanzo, vol. iii. p. 207. 

2 Simonetta, Historia Francisci Primi (Muratori, Rer^Ital. Script., 
xxi. p. 709). 

3 For Terracina, cf. Commentarii, lib. iv. p. 130, and Raynaldus, 1460, 
No. 65. For Castiglione and Giglio, cf. Commentarii, lib. iv. p. 108, 
and Simonetta, p. 727. 

4 Simonetta, p. 732. 



i88 POPE PIUS II 

to bear upon the panic-stricken Pope. It was, said 
Francesco Sforza, a far more difficult task to keep the 
Pope steadfast than to bear the expenses and fatigues of 
the war. 1 

In 1461 the Duke of Milan became seriously ill, and 
reports of his death were current throughout Italy. At 
the same time came news of various reverses at the seat 
of war. Pius was plunged into the lowest depths of 
despair, seeing himself, bereft of his stalwart partner, 
the solitary champion of a hopeless cause. Once more 
Ferrante came forward with a bribe, and in the autumn 
of 1461 another Papal nephew, Antonio, was married to 
the King s illegitimate daughter, being made Duke of 
Amalfi and Grand Justiciar of the Kingdom. Yet even his 
delight at the honours showered upon his nephew could 
not entirely restore the Pope s peace of mind. On 
12 March 1462, the Milanese ambassador, Otto Carretto, 
forwarded to his master the report of an important con 
versation which had taken place between himself and 
Pius ii. 2 After dismissing every one else from his presence, 
the Pope called Carretto to his side and said to him, " Messer 
Otto, you are a faithful servant of your lord, and as his 
affairs are most closely connected with my own, I will 
quite secretly impart certain matters to you, and then 
ask your advice concerning them." He proceeded to 
give a masterly sketch of the political situation, with a 
view to showing the overwhelming power of France, and 
the perilous path which Milan and the Papacy were 
treading in pursuing an anti-French policy in Naples. 
Milan, he said, was surrounded by the friends of France 
Savoy, Montferrat, Ferrara; while in Venice she had a 
rival who would take prompt advantage of her weakness. 
Discontent was rife throughout the Duchy, and many of 
Sforza s subjects were ready to side with France or Venice 

1 Simonetta, p. 732. 

2 Pastor, vol. iii. pp. 142-6, from the original letter in the Biblioteca 
Ambrosiana, Milan. 



PIUS II AND ITALY 189 

against him. 1 Little or nothing could be expected from 
Florence; while as for Ferrante, he was hated by his 
people, and his treasury was exhausted. Save for Milan, 
the Papacy must stand alone. Yet, within the States of 
the Church, the Colonna were strongly French in sympathy, 
and many other Papal vassals were intriguing with 
Piccinino. Beyond the borders of Italy there were 
German malcontents, and the heretic King of Bohemia, 
who threatened the spiritual power of the Papacy. 
French ambassadors were now on their way to Rome. 
If Pius refused their demands with regard to Naples, 
would he not expose the Church to the perils of a General 
Council, if not of a schism, and jeopardise the whole 
position of the Papacy ? 

Carretto was aghast at the Pope s words, and did his 
utmost to present the situation in a more favourable 
light. To desert Ferrante at this juncture would, he 
urged, be a lamentable exhibition of weakness. The Pope 
feared a renewal of the schism if he resisted France, but 
an abject submission to France would go far to revive 
the conditions of the Papal captivity at Avignon. His 
representations were not without effect, and, after a few 
days, he was able to report that Pius was recovering from 
his panic. " My most anxious endeavour," he concludes, 
" will be to keep His Holiness firm in this matter, and 
to take care that no one should know of his vacillations/ 

The events of the next few months put an end to the 
trusty Carretto s worst anxieties. Just when Ferrante s 
cause seemed most hopeless, the tide turned in his favour, 
and his victory at Troja, on 18 August 1462, proved the 
decisive battle of the Neapolitan war. It was followed 
by his reconciliation with the Prince of Taranto, who 
had from the first sought the King s humiliation rather 
than his overthrow. The negotiations were conducted 

1 The Pope s words are confirmed by the report on the political 
condition of Milan tendered to the Duke by his {agent, Antonio Vailati, 
in 1461. Cf. Ady, A History of Milan under the Sforza, pp. 82 seq. 



POPE PIUS II 

by Cardinal Roverella, the Papal Legate, and Taranto 
was restored to all his former possessions and offices. 1 
From this time forward Pius n s energies were directed 
towards ending the war, and in December 1462 he suc 
ceeded in bringing the envoys of the rival parties to a 
conference at Todi. 2 But neither Ferrante nor his 
opponent were ready for peace, and fighting continued 
throughout the year 1463. It was clear, however, that 
the real issue of the war was decided, and the Neapolitan 
barons, of both factions, devoted themselves to strengthen 
ing their own position, with a view to the future. 
The Pope s share in this last campaign limited itself to 
furthering the interests of his nephew, the Duke of Amalfi. 
When the young Count Ruggiero of Celano turned against 
his mother, a loyal Aragonese, and threw in his lot with 
Piccinino, the Pope promptly laid claim to Celano as a 
Papal fief. Troops were sent to protect the defenceless 
widow against her unnatural son, but when peace was 
restored the lady only recovered a few castles, while the 
County of Celano was conferred upon Antonio Piccolomini. 3 
Pius also had hopes of securing the suzerainty of the city 
of Aquila, which clung to its traditions of independence 
and sought Papal protection against Ferrante. But 
plague within the city, and the armies of Aragon without, 
humbled its pride. Aquila gave itself to the King of 
Naples, and the envoys who had been sent to offer alle 
giance to the Pope were hastily recalled. 4 

Meanwhile John of Calabria had retired to Ischia. 
Early in 1464 he recognised that his cause was hopeless, 
and took ship for Provence. He left behind him a 
fragrant memory. " He had," says Pontano, " most 
charming manners, and showed singular faith and loyalty. 
... He was a good Christian, full of generosity and kmd- 
jl^ ^ostanzo, iii. pp. 252-3. Cf. also Commentarii, lib. x. pp. 247-51. 

2 Commentarii , lib. x. p. 271. 

3 Ibid., lib. xi. p. 275, and lib. xii. p. 331. 
* Ibid., lib. xii. pp. 322 and 330. 



PIUS II AND ITALY 191 

liness, a lover of justice, and more grave and circum 
spect than most Frenchmen." l Many a subject of the 
Neapolitan kingdom, crushed beneath Ferrante s iron 
rule, and sickened by the tale of his treacheries, must have 
sighed for the return of this gallant prince. Nevertheless, 
Pius ii s policy was in accordance with the true interests 
of his country. Only by keeping the passes of the Alps 
barred against the foreigner could Italy attain to some 
measure of unity and good government under the leader 
ship of her five chief States. Pius had wavered where 
he should have stood firm, and had worked for the 
advancement of his family with unblushing persistency. 
For all that, he had chosen the path of patriotic states 
manship, and had followed it to a triumphant conclusion. 
Owing to Pius ir and to those who worked with him, 
Italy enjoyed those thirty years of peace and freedom 
from foreign interference which lay between the close 
of the Neapolitan war and the invasion of Charles VIH. 
They were years which have made Italy famous for all 
time, in which the fairest flowers of the Renaissance were 
brought to their perfection. 

Closely interwoven with the Neapolitan war is Pius n s 
long struggle with Sigismondo Malatesta. This wayward 
child of the Renaissance, constant only in his devotion 
to the Arts, had much in common with the humanist 
Pope. Pius might say, in righteous horror, of the 
Malatesta temple at Rimini, that "it was filled with so 
many profane works that it resembled a heathen temple 
rather than a place of Christian worship." 2 Neverthe 
less, the ideals which inspired its creator differed little 
from those which brought Pienza into being. Church 
and city alike are the expression of a personality, the 
creation of an adventurer who had climbed to fame upon 
the vicissitudes of an uncertain age, and who determined 
to leave behind him one permanent witness to his memory. 

1 Pontanus, De Bello Neapolitano. Cf. also Costanzo, iii. p. 268. 
a Commentarii, lib. ii. p. 51. 



IQ2 POPE PIUS II 

Pius and Sigismondo were, however, from the first 
destined to be enemies. The relations between the Pope 
and the Vicar of an ecclesiastical fief were always delicate, 
and in this case they were complicated by external circum 
stances. As a Sienese, Pius could not forgive Sigismondo 
for his treachery to the Republic in 1454, when he under 
took the defence of Siena against the Lord of Pitigliano, 
and then made peace without consulting his employers. 1 
Sigismondo, on his side, had every reason to mistrust a 
suzerain who was hand in glove with his bitterest foes 
the King of Naples, the Duke of Milan, and the Count of 
Urbino. The Lord of Rimini, moreover, despised per 
suasion as much as Pius disliked impetuosity, and thus 
personal antipathy arose to embitter the conflict. 

The trouble began in the first year of Pius n s reign, 
when Sigismondo s fortresses were falling before the joint 
attack of Piccinino and the Count of Urbino, and the luckless 
Malatesta joined the Papal cortege on its way to Mantua, 
humbly seeking mediation from his overlord. For the 
moment, desire for peace triumphed over the Pope s anti 
pathy, and he made at least an attempt to deal fairly by 
Sigismondo. Malatesta s cause was heard at Florence 
and again at Mantua, while Pius wrote himself to Count 
Federico, begging him to modify his terms. " You are 
victorious," he wrote, " and Sigismondo acknowledges you 
to be so ; as worsted, he is ready to submit to terms. . . . 
Let not your rigour and obstinacy wrest from you your 
conquest." 2 Federico yielded to the Pope s pressure, and 
peace was made by which Sigismondo was forced to yield 
several fortresses to Urbino, and to surrender Sinigaglia 
and Mondavio to the Papacy, as pledges for payment of his 
debts to the King of Naples. Sigismondo, not unnaturally, 
considered that Pius had taken advantage of his position 
as mediator to gain possession of two coveted cities. Cir- 

1 Yriarte, Un condottiere au ij e siecle, pp. 280-3. 

2 Pius ii to Federico, Count of Urbino, 21 June 1459. Cf. Dennistoun, 
i. pp. 117-9. 



PIUS II AND ITALY 193 

cumstances forced him to accept the terms of the treaty, 
but he left Mantua vowing vengeance on the Pope. 

During the troubled summer of 1460, Sigismondo saw 
his opportunity. Regardless of his pledges, he seized 
Mondavio, and proceeded to attack Sinigaglia. Pius re 
taliated by instituting formal proceedings against Malatesta 
as a heretic and a traitor, and in the following year Barto- 
lomeo Vitelleschi, Bishop of Corneto, was sent into the 
Marches to reduce the rebel vassal to obedience. The 
chief result of the campaign was a triumphant victory for 
Malatesta at Nidastore on 2 July 1461. The Papal forces 
fled before Sigismondo s onset, leaving baggage, artillery, 
and the banner of S. Peter in the victor s hands. 1 There 
were few more critical moments in Pius n s reign. The 
Duke of Milan was lying at death s door, the Papal treasury 
was exhausted, and every day seemed to bring news of 
fresh victories for Anj ou in Naples. Nevertheless, in dealing 
with Malatesta the Pope knew no hesitation. He continued 
to wage war on the miscreant, with weapons both temporal 
and spiritual, until Sigismondo was brought to his knees. 

The strangest and most characteristic episode of the 
struggle was the burning of Malatesta s effigy, which took 
place in Rome early in the year 1462. It was the outward 
sign, Pius explained, of his condemnation to eternal punish 
ment. The system of canonisation enabled the Pope to 
declare that certain of the departed were citizens of the 
heavenly Jerusalem and worthy of the veneration of the 
faithful. In the same way, it belonged to the Papal office 
to pronounce that notorious sinners had their place with 
Lucifer, in the city of the damned. 2 On Christmas Day 
1460 the process began by a detailed accusation against 
Sigismondo on the part of the Fiscal Advocate. The 
Lord of Rimini, he declared, was guilty of " rapine, arson, 
murder, adultery, incest, parricide, sacrilege, treason and 
heresy," and it was the Pope s plain duty to purge Italy 

1 Commentarii, lib. v. pp. 141-2. Cf. Pastor, iii. p. 120. 

2 Commentarii, lib. v. p. 129. 

13 



I 9 4 POPE PIUS II 

of " so loathsome and abominable a monster." l Other 
tyrants of the Renaissance were as wicked as Sigismondo, 
but none took less trouble to conceal their wrongdoings. 
Tales of his open contempt for the ceremonies and laws of 
the Church, of the two wives whom he had murdered, and 
even of his schemes for bringing the Turk into Italy, were 
rife throughout the country. It is difficult for us to-day 
to separate fact from rumour, but there was sufficient 
evidence against Sigismondo to satisfy his judges. When 
Cardinal Cusa presented his report upon the investigation 
of the case, Malatesta was found guilty of all the crimes 
ascribed to him, and it only remained to put the sentence 
into execution, " Before the steps of the basilica of S. Peter 
a great pyre of dry materials was raised, and on the top 
of it was placed an effigy of Sigismondo, reproducing the 
features of the man, and indeed his very clothes, so that 
it seemed more like a real person than an effigy. And lest 
any should not recognise the effigy, a scroll came out of its 
mouth bearing the words, I am Sigismondo Malatesta . . . 
king of traitors, the enemy of God and man, by sentence of 
the Sacred College condemned to the flames. Many read 
the writing; then, in the presence of the multitude, the 
pyre was kindled and immediately consumed the effigy." a 
The ceremony was repeated in another part of Rome with 
a duplicate effigy, the execution of the two figures being 
entrusted to the Papal architect, Paolo Romano. 3 The 
spirit of the Renaissance demanded that even an effigy 
destined for the flames should be a work of art. Therefore 
Pius took care that it should be so, and Sigismondo 
doubtless appreciated the fact. 

Meanwhile Sigismondo was hurling defiance at his 
judge. " I am advised that His Holiness has composed 
some verses against me," he wrote to the Duke of Milan. 

1 Commentaru, lib. v. p. 129. z Ibid., lib. vii. pp. 184-5. 

3 Cf. Miintz, Les Arts d la Cour des Papes : " Hon viro magistro Paulo 
Mariani de Urbe Sculptori, florenos auri de camera 8 ebol. 48, pro totidem 
per eum expositis in qonficiendis duabus imaginibus Sigismundi Malatesta 
ad camburendum," 



PIUS II AND ITALY 195 

" I must tell you that it is not in my nature to tolerate 
such things, even though His Holiness is my suzerain and 
I am his Vicar and servant. . . . When I am attacked with 
the pen, I attack with the pen. If I am opposed by the 
sword, I defend myself with the sword to the death, . . . 
a gallant death ennobles an entire life." 1 But the forces 
of the Papacy were more than a match for the rebel feuda 
tory. On 12 August, when Sigismondo had just succeeded 
in recapturing Sinigaglia, Federico of Urbino appeared 
beneath its walls, and before dawn the next day Malatesta s 
army was scattered to the winds. 2 In the following year 
the fall of Fano set a seal upon the Pope s triumph. The 
city was gallantly defended by Roberto Malatesta, but, 
besieged both by land and sea, it surrendered on 25 Septem 
ber 1463, after nearly four months resistance. 3 Sinigaglia 
immediately gave herself to the Church, other strongholds 
followed suit, and in a short time Sigismondo s dominions 
were reduced to Rimini and its contado. Public opinion 
had felt for some time past that the Pope had gone far 
enough, and Milan, Venice, Florence, and even France, 
entreated him to stay his hand. But Pius was strangely 
obstinate. " It is not nobility that we hate," he wrote 
to the Count of Urbino, " but profligate and faithless 
nobles like himself (Sigismondo) . . . and we shall not 
neglect to chastise him as God may give us opportunity. 
You, and all such as imitate your ways, we love right 
heartily, and shall honour and exalt to the utmost of our 
power, . . . knowing well that authority is best maintained 
by punishments and rewards, and that in the opinion of 
all the world Sigismondo has earned the former, and you 
the latter." 4 At last the Pope realised that his tenacity 
with regard to Sigismondo accorded ill with his exhorta- 

1 Sigismondo Malatesta to Francesco Sforza, Rimini, 26 March 1462 
(Pastor, Appendix 56. From Archivio di Stato, Milano). 

2 Cf. Dennistoun, i. p. 136, and Commentaru, lib. x. p. 259. 

3 Commentarii, lib. xii. pp. 319 and 342. 

4 Pius ii to Federico of Urbino, 6 Oct. 1462 (Muzio, Historia dei fatti 
di Federico, Duca di Urbino, pp. 217-9). 



196 POPE PIUS II 

tions of peace, and in October 1463 the conditions of pardon 
were made and accepted. All the Malatesta dominions 
were declared forfeit to the Holy See, and Sigismondo was 
ordered to fast every Friday on bread and water for the 
remainder of his life. After his envoys had made public 
confession and recantation of his heresies in Rome, the 
sentence of excommunication was removed, and Rimini 
and Cesena were granted afresh to Sigismondo and his 
brother Novello, in return for a large annual tribute. 
Finally, the Bishop of Sessa was sent to Rimini to raise the 
interdict. Three days of fasting and penance were imposed 
upon the whole community, and at the end of that time 
Sigismondo, on his knees before the Bishop in the crowded 
Cathedral, received absolution and benediction for himself 
and his subjects. 1 A few months later the vanquished 
rebel left Italy for the East in the service of Venice. 

It was during the Pope s sojourn at Siena, on his way 
back from the Congress of Mantua, that he heard both of 
the Angevin victory at Sarno and of the rebellion of 
Malatesta. " Misfortunes seldom come singly/ as Pius 
observed, and at the same time the news from Rome was 
such as to cause him the gravest anxiety. 2 A band of 
some three hundred riotous youths, under the leadership of 
Tiburzio and Valeriano de Maso, made Rome ring with 
the tale of their robberies and outrages, and instituted a 
reign of terror with which the magistrates were quite unable 
to cope. The barons of the Campagna made common 
cause with these turbulent spirits, and Jacopo Savelli s 
stronghold at Palombara became the headquarters of the 
whole band. In the course of the summer one of the 
rioters, appropriately named Innamorato, was arrested for 
kidnapping a girl on her way to her wedding. Thereupon 
his companions fortified themselves in the Pantheon, and 
held it during a nine days siege, being supplied with food 
by the terror-stricken neighbours, who feared to deny them 
what they asked. Finally, the magistrates weakly yielded 

1 Commentarii, lib. xii. pp. 344-5- 2 Ibid -> lib. iv. p. 106, 



PIUS II AND ITALY 197 

up Innamorato in exchange for some citizens whom the 
rioters had captured. After this episode " Tiburzio was 
lord of all, and everything hung upon his will." 1 As the 
son of Angelo de Maso, who had been executed for his share 
in the Porcaro conspiracy ten years earlier, he posed as 
the champion of Republicanism, and swore to deliver 
Rome from the yoke of the priests. After some weeks of 
virtual dictatorship, Tiburzio graciously acceded to the 
request of the magistrates that he should withdraw to 
Palombara. He left the city amid every sign of pomp, 
and with the knowledge that he could return when it 
suited him. 

From Rome and the Campagna the insurrection spread 
outwards until it merged in the larger problem of the 
Neapolitan war. In September, Piccinino appeared in the 
Sabina, where he was welcomed by all the elements of 
opposition to the Papacy. J acopo Savelli provided quarters 
for his troops, and the anti-Papal party in Tivoli all but 
succeeded in delivering the city into his hands. The 
capture of a certain Luca da Tozio, an emissary of Cardinal 
Colonna, revealed a widespread conspiracy against the 
Pope. The Prince of Taranto, Everso of Anguillara, 
J acopo Savelli, and the Colonna had combined to bring 
Piccinino into the Campagna. Tiburzio would open the 
gates of Rome to him, and the Papal government would be 
at his mercy. 2 Up to this time Pius had disregarded the 
entreaties of the magistrates that he should return to Rome, 
but now he resolved to delay no longer. The Cardinals 
feared that he would fall into Piccinino s clutches, but the 
Pope remembered Eugenius iv s nine years exile, and 
determined to enter Rome while it was still possible. 

On 6 October the news spread that the Pope was in the 
neighbourhood, and the Senator of Rome, Cardinal Tebaldo, 
and some of the nobility rode out to welcome his return. 
They found Pius picnicking by a fountain in a shady grove. 
He had spent the previous night at the village of Formello, 

1 Commentani, lib. iv. pp. 106-7. * Ibid., pp. 108-9. 



198 POPE PIUS II 

where the accommodation had been primitive, and he was 
enjoying an alfresco meal in order to make up for his scanty 
supper. The new-comers were pressed to join the feast, 
and then the whole party set out for Rome. Pius, with 
habitual good fortune, had chosen exactly the right 
moment for his return. The fickle youth of the city had 
grown weary of excesses, and a band of Tiburzio s followers 
came six miles out of Rome to beg the privilege of carry 
ing the returning Pontiff into his capital. The Pope s 
companions trembled when they saw these unruly youths 
raising the Papal litter to their shoulders, but Pius smiled 
at their fears : " Thou shalt walk on the asp and the 
basilisk, and tread under foot the lion and the dragon," he 
quoted. " What wild beast is more savage than man ? . . . 
Yet the fiercest natures often grow gentle. These youths 
were prepared to take from us our life and our city, but 
now they know their error, and bear on their shoulders him 
whom they sought to trample under their feet." * The same 
month saw the end of Tiburzio s career. Another of his 
band, a certain Bonanno Specchio, having fallen into the 
hands of the police, Tiburzio came to Rome, with fifteen 
companions, and endeavoured to repeat the Innamorato 
episode. But his transient popularity had vanished, and 
he failed to create any movement in his favour. The 
rebels fled for refuge to the grass and scrub outside the 
walls, where the Papal troops hunted them down with dogs 
until the ringleaders were captured. On 31 October 
Tiburzio and seven others were hanged in the Capitol. 
Within a year, this outbreak of hooliganism, masquerading 
in the guise of a Republican movement, was over and 
forgotten. 

In 1461, Federico of Urbino undertook a campaign in 
the Sabina which did much to restore order in the Papal 
dominions round Rome. Three new canons, named after 
the Pope and his parents, Silvia, Vittoria, and Enea, were 
employed in the war, and the Pope prided himself that they 

1 Commentarii, lib. iv. pp. 115-6. 



PIUS II AND ITALY 199 

were largely responsible for the success of the campaign. 1 
Jacopo Savelli, the arch-rebel of the barons, was besieged 
in Palombara, and in July he humbly sought peace of the 
Pope. He was pardoned upon easy conditions, and his 
submission put an end to the Pope s worst difficulties. 
" Words fail me to describe," wrote Otto Carretto, " what 
joy and delight this matter has brought to the whole city 
and CAiria." 2 

The Neapolitan war, the subjugation of Malatesta, 
and the suppression of Tiburzio s rebellion are the three 
outstanding events of Pius n s reign in Italy. Yet his 
success as ruler of the States of the Church does not rest 
upon these victories alone. It may even be said that, in 
all three episodes, fortune rather than any peculiar dis 
play of ability on Pius n s part turned the scales in his 
favour. The unique feature of his rule, and the clue to 
his successful government, lies in the intimate knowledge of 
his dominions which he gained by his constant expeditions 
to all parts of the Papal States. The inhabitants of many 
a rebellious city and of many a remote village had looked 
upon the Pope merely as some far-off recipient of taxes 
until they gained a new conception of their suzerain from 
the kindly little old man, with his genial manners and 
simple habits, who had spent some pleasant days among 
them. The Pope s detractors grumbled at these constant 
holidays, and complained that the Papal business was 
neglected. But in Italy, where the personal relation is all 
supreme, Pius n s progresses among his people bound the 
Papal States together in a way that hours of toil with his 
secretaries at the Vatican could never have accomplished. 

During the Pope s visits to the cities of his dominions, 
he was often called upon to play the part of peacemaker. 
His efforts to mediate between contending factions at 
Perugia had little permanent effect, but in other places he 

1 Commentarii, lib. v. p. 135. 

2 Otto Carretto to Francesco Sforza, n July 1461 (Pastor, Appendix 49, 
from Archivio di Stato, Milano). 



200 POPE PIUS II 

was more successful. His dealings with Orvieto, in par 
ticular, are an illustration of the good influence which a 
wise and tactful Pope could have over the distracted 
Republics which acknowledged the Papal suzerainty. As 
soon as the fact that Pius had left Mantua was known in 
Orvieto, the citizens began to look forward to a visit from 
their over-lord on his way back to Rome. 1 It was re 
solved to pave the way for his coming by a complimentary 
embassy. As a preliminary step, a general day s hunting 
was proclaimed, and every citizen, from the magistrates 
of the Republic to the humblest peasant, turned out at the 
sound of the horn to take his share in providing a present 
for the Pope. The result of the chase was that an em 
bassy from Orvieto appeared before Pius n at Siena, armed 
with some hundred head of game and a varied list of 
petitions. The Pope was asked, among other things, to allow 
some Jewish money-lenders to settle in Orvieto, to repair 
the hall of the Papal palace, and to reduce the salt-tax. 
Evil reports had already reached Pius of the feuds between 
the Muffati and the Melcorini which destroyed the peace 
of Orvieto. He now saw his opportunity to end the war, 
and the envoys were sent away happy, with the assur 
ance that their petitions should be granted, and that the 
Pope would visit their city in the course of the year. On 
27 September 1460 the great day arrived, and Pius was 
welcomed at the gates of Orvieto by crowds of children 
waving olive-branches and shouting, Pio ! Pace ! Before 
entering the city he made the sign of the cross over it, in 
order to exorcise the evil spirit of sedition with the Papal 
blessing. 2 He remained for three days in the Papal palace, 
full of admiration for the splendid city rising out of the 
valley upon its rocky precipices. " Here," he says, "were 
most noble houses and vast palaces, but age has consumed 
much, while civil strife has burned and destroyed still 

1 Fumi, Pio II e la pace di Orvieto (Studi e documenti di storm e 
diritto, Anno vi., Roma, 1885. 

2 Commentarii, lib. iv. p. in. 



PIUS II AND ITALY 201 

more. Now there are only half-mined towers and fallen 
temples. But the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary 
stands unspoilt in the midst of the town, unrivalled by any 
Church in Italy. . . . Thefasade . . . is adorned with statues 
fashioned by excellent sculptors (the greater part of them 
Sienese), 1 who are not inferior to Phidias or Praxiteles. In 
the white marble figures of men and animals art seems to 
rival nature ; only a voice is needed to make them alive. 
And there may be seen the resurrection of the dead, the 
judgment of the Saviour, the pains of the damned, and the 
reward of the elect, as if these events were really happen 
ing." 2 Pius, with unerring artistic instinct, has seized 
upon the peculiar glory of the Orvieto facade, but even 
while he rejoiced over its beauty he laboured in the cause 
of peace. He preached in the Cathedral, and gave separate 
addresses to the boys and girls of the city, all with a view 
to ending civil strife. Before the Pope left Orvieto the 
citizens were determined to lay aside their feuds. In the 
following December, Muffati and Melcorini made peace in 
the presence of the Papal Governor, and a month later a 
new government, known as the Stato Ecclesiastico, was 
set up. 3 It was composed of representatives of all parties 
in the city, and by this means the " diabolical factions " 
were extinguished. In the course of the year 1461 Papal 
troops aided the citizens to rid themselves of a would-be 
tyrant, Gentile della Sala, who had endeavoured to create 
a revolution in Orvieto for his own ends. Gentile sur 
rendered at discretion to the Pope, who spared his life 
and lands, but banished him to North Italy. 4 With 
Gentile s departure Orvieto was at the end of her troubles. 

1 The Sienese architect Lorenzo Maitani, capo maestro of the works 
at Orvieto 1310-30, is now commonly admitted to have designed the 
facade, although the prevalence of the Florentine spirit in the reliefs 
points to the influence of such men as Andrea and Nino Pisano. Pius II 
naturally takes the Sienese view of this vexed question. Cf. Waters, 
Italian Sculptors, pp. 117-20. 

2 Commentarii, lib. iv. p. in. 3 Fumi, op. cit., pp. 261-4. 
4 Commentarii, lib. iv. p. 112. 



202 POPE PIUS II 

" Nothing is more dear to our heart," wrote Pius in his 
letter of congratulation, " than to know that our subjects 
live in peace and tranquillity." 1 

In 1461 Pius passed his mllegiatura at Tivoli, a politic 
move on his part, in view of the recent disturbances in 
the city. Some of the citizens who had tried to deliver 
Tivoli to Piccinino fled on the news of the Pope s coming, 
but those who remained received a free pardon together 
with a fatherly lecture upon the error of their ways. 2 
As a guarantee against future trouble Pius caused a 
fortress to be built in the highest part of the city. This 
great stronghold with its twin towers, adorned with the 
arms of Pius n, remains as a permanent memorial of the 
Pope s sojourn in Tivoli. 3 Before returning to Rome, 
Pius made an expedition to Subiaco. As he travelled 
up the Aniene valley, he was charmed by the countless 
sparkling streams which flowed into the river. " The 
Pope ordered dinner to be prepared on the journey, at a 
place where a clear fountain gushed out. . . . Here the 
Pope and Cardinals dined, quenching their thirst at the 
stream. The ice-cold water tasted sweeter than wine. 
The people assembled near the fountain were invited to 
share the feast, although a great crowd had come from 
the surrounding villages to see the Pope. After dinner, 
the peasants plunged into the water to catch fish for the 
Pope s entertainment. He watched the fishers from the 
bank as he proceeded on his way, and at every capture they 
saluted him with a loud shout, and handed the trout to 
the Papal servants. Thus the greater part of the journey 
passed in the pleasantest manner." 4 This, and other 
episodes of the kind, so naively described in the Com 
mentaries, caused the name of Pius n to be cherished among 
the inhabitants of an entire countryside. 

1 Fumi, op. cit., p. 265. 2 Commentarii, lib. v. p. 136. 

8 The following inscription is preserved on the gateway : 
"Grata bonis, invisa malis, inimica superbis 
Sum tibi, Tybur, enim sic Pius instituit." 
4 Commentarii, lib. vi. p. 167. 



PIUS II AND ITALY 203 

The year 1462 was the golden year of Pius IT S sojourn 
in Tuscany, when he lingered on the slopes of Monte 
Amiata, and watched Pienza rise into being upon the 
opposite hill-side. But his journeys to and from Tuscany 
formed the occasion for another leisurely progress through 
the Papal States. The Feast of Corpus Christi was spent 
amid much pageantry at Viterbo, and, on the Lake of 
Bolsena, Pius watched the boat-races, which he describes 
with enthusiasm worthy of a competitor in the struggle. 1 
On the return journey the Pope stayed at Todi, where 
once more he was able to introduce a settled government 
in the place of anarchy and misrule. He found the citizens 
groaning under the yoke of Jacopo and Andrea Atti, 
members of a powerful and wealthy family, who had 
usurped authority in Todi. The Pope and Cardinals 
instituted an inquiry into the doings of these brothers, 
with the result that Jacopo, the principal offender, was 
banished from the city. The chief magistracy of Todi 
was composed of Priors elected by lot every two months, 
from names previously placed in the election -boxes. 
Now, under Pius n s auspices, the magistracy was purged 
of undesirable elements by the usual Italian practice of 
refilling the election-boxes. At the same time, " various 
other salutary laws were given to the city, which have 
sufficed unto this day to maintain peace." 2 

Pius was an enthusiastic builder, but his energies were 
mainly directed towards the glorification of Pienza. His 
chief works in Rome were a tribune, from which the Pope 
could bless the people outside S. Peter s, and the beautiful 
Chapel of S. Andrew in the left aisle of the ancient Church. 
With the rebuilding of S. Peter s both these memorials 
of Pius ii were swept away. For the rest, his building 
operations, as well as his general policy, found their origin 
in his travels through the Papal States. The new harbour 
at Corneto, the walls of Civita Vecchia, and the restorations 
at Assisi and Orvieto, are alike the outcome of the Pope s 

1 Commentarii, lib. viii. pp. 208-14. * Ibid., lib. x. pp. 270-1. 



204 POPE PIUS II 

intimate knowledge of the needs of his dominions. Above 
all he took pains to be an effective guardian of the 
antiquities of the Papal States. As the Pope was returning 
along the Via Appia from one of his many excursions, he 
saw to his horror a man digging great blocks of stone out 
of the way, in order to use them for building a house. 
He sent at once to the lord of the district, a member of 
the Colonna family, and bade him see that the Via Appia 
was left untouched, as it was under the protection of the 
Papacy. 1 In 1462 he issued a Bull forbidding injury to any 
ancient monument in his dominions, and reserving to him 
self the right of attending to necessary repairs. 2 Later 
generations would have had cause to rejoice if other 
guardians of Rome had been as zealous as Pius u. 

As ruler of the Papal States, Pius showed himself a 
true Guelf. To the cities he was a benevolent suzerain, 
caring for their interests and respecting their liberties, 
but he waged war on the nobility. Sigismondo Malatesta, 
Gentile della Sala, and Jacopo Savelli were not the only 
feudatories who felt the weight of his hand. An object 
of his peculiar aversion was Everso, Count of Anguillara, 
a petty lord of the Campagna, of whom he has left a vivid 
if unpleasing portrait. " To Everso nothing was sweeter 
than rapine, he was skilled in arms, and made war upon 
his relations and friends as readily as upon his enemies. 
He was always at enmity with his suzerain the Pope ; . . . 
he despised religion, saying that the world was governed by 
chance, and that the souls of men and animals alike were 
mortal. He was blasphemous and cruel, and thought 
no more of killing a man than a beast. He invented 
new and horrible tortures for his prisoners. He forced 
his troops to live by plunder and robbery, and compelled 
the peasants to work for him on Sundays. It was the 
Lord s Day, he said, and he was their Lord." 3 The Count 

1 Commentarii, lib. xi. p. 308. 

2 Lesca, p. 226 ; Pastor, iii. p. 304. 

3 Commentarii, lib. ii. p. 39, and Cugnoni, p. 190. 



PIUS II AND ITALY 205 

of Anguillara was implicated in every movement against 
Pius n, but he contrived, apparently, to escape punish 
ment. He is last mentioned in the Commentaries in 
1463, when he was frustrated in an attempt to kill the 
Pope by soaking his saddle in poison. 1 

Both in his scepticism and his barbarities, Everso is a 
lesser example of the type of Sigismondo Malatesta. He 
stood for lawlessness, brute force, and feudal independence, 
and from vassals such as he, Pius was determined to purge 
his dominions. In their place he substituted for the 
most part his own relations. The system of nepotism 
was already in vogue before Pius ascended the throne of 
S. Peter, but under him it became an established feature 
of Papal policy. Antonio Piccolomini takes a prominent 
place in the long line of Papal nephews which culminated 
in Caesar Borgia. His fortunes were made in the 
Neapolitan war, several of the forfeited Malatesta fiefs 
fell to his share, and he was brought forward on every 
possible occasion. Yet Pius was too tenacious of his 
rights to allow even a favourite nephew to usurp his 
authority, and he cannot fairly be accused of subordinating 
the interests of the Papacy to those of his family. Antonio 
and the numerous Piccolomini who held the fiefs and 
manned the fortresses of the Church were a source of 
strength and not of weakness to the Papacy. Nepotism 
was used by Pius n as a means of supplying a non-military 
power with its chief requisite, loyal and efficient captains. 

In an age when every Papal Vicar struggled to make 
himself a sovereign prince, and when the Papacy still 
reaped the fruits of its long exile from Italy, the Pope s 
task as a territorial ruler was by no means light. Pius n, 
in the face of many difficulties, went far towards establish 
ing an effective control over his dominions. At his death 
in 1464 he left the States of the Church more loyal, more 
united, and better governed than he found them. 

1 Commentarii, lib. xi. p. 305. 



CHAPTER X 
PIUS II AND EUROPE 

PIUS II s relations with the powers of Europe gave 
scope for the exercise of his peculiar talents. 
Embassies came to Rome, and whether or no the 
results of their mission proved satisfactory, one and 
all departed lost in admiration at the wise and eloquent 
orations which fell from the Holy Father s lips. Papal 
Bulls sped hither and thither, couched in the well-turned, 
incisive phrases which were associated with the name of 
Jjjieas Silvius. In the various problems which called for 
solution the Pope always had some personal knowledge to 
bring to bear upon the subject, the fruit of his long ap 
prenticeship in European diplomacy and of his insatiable 
curiosity with regard to the men and movements which 
crossed his path. Thus here, as in every phase of Pius n s 
career, it is the personal interest which predominates. 
The tedious and somewhat profitless negotiations which 
mark his activity as the arbiter of Europe are chiefly 
interesting to-day as the means by which he gave expression 
to his individuality. At the same time, his achievements 
in the sphere of European politics afford a valuable object- 
lesson as to the true position of the restored Papacy. A 
modern, Italianised Papal monarchy had emerged from the 
confusion of the previous generation. What part would 
this new phenomenon play among the nations of Europe ? 
Would the spiritual supremacy of the mediaeval Papacy 
again become a reality ? Such were the questions which 
called for solution when Pius n succeeded to the traditional 



206 



PIUS II AND EUROPE 207 

leadership of Christendom, and set himself to shape the 
destinies of Europe with the instruments that had proved 
successful in the fashioning of his own career. 

I. FRANCE 

As the spiritual sovereign of Europe, Pius n had a 
threefold task to perform. The removal of the Pragmatic 
Sanction in France, the reconciliation of Bohemia with the 
Catholic Church, and the restoration of order in Germany 
by means of a reassertion of Papal authority, never ceased 
to occupy his attention. Upon these three objects turned 
the diplomacy of the Curia throughout his reign. With 
regard to France, the gauntlet was thrown down at Mantua, 
when Pius, in the presence of the admiring Cardinals, spoke 
strong words conceming the wrong done to the authority 
of the Holy See by the conditions which prevailed in the 
Gallican Church. 1 The Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges 
dated from the year 1438, when the French king, feeling 
that he had little concern in the quarrel between Pope and 
Council, resolved to deal practically with the situation and 
to adopt by royal authority such of the Basel decrees as 
seemed to meet the needs of his country. 2 The Papal 
rights with regard to ecclesiastical appointments, annates, 
and appeals were either restricted or denied, and the 
doctrines of the Conciliar movement concerning the 
superiority and frequency of General Councils were em 
bodied in the document. The whole tenor of the Pragmatic 
Sanction made it a perpetual source of annoyance to the 
restored Papacy, and it was by no means surprising that 
the author of the Bull Execrabilis should at once single it 
out for attack. 

Charles vii promptly took up the challenge. He caused 
a formal protest to be registered against the Pope s Mantuan 
policy, bidding him beware of meddling with the Conciliar 

1 Commentarii, lib. iii. p. 87. Cf. pp. 176-8, above. 

2 Cf . pp. 69-70, above. 



208 POPE PIUS II 

decrees, and offering his protection to any future Council 
which might meet in France. Allusion was also made to 
the Pope s championship of Ferrante, in terms which were 
the reverse of courteous. ;< The Holy Father/ ran the 
protest, " also spoke in favour of the party opposed to 
King Ren6, saying much in praise of the Bastard that he 
would have done far better to keep to himself." l The 
envoys sent to negotiate with Charles vii about the 
Crusade were kept for months without an answer, 2 and 
the presence of Pius n s arch-enemy, Gregory Heimburg, 
at the French Court was further proof of the King s 
hostility. 

Nevertheless, from the point of view of the French 
monarchy, the desirability of maintaining the Pragmatic 
Sanction was at least an open question. Freedom of 
election left the Cathedral Chapters at the mercy of anyone 
strong enough to influence them, and the King found his 
share of patronage exposed to constant encroachments 
from the great nobles. Questions of jurisdiction had now 
to be fought out with the Parlement and the University of 
Paris, and these bodies proved no whit less tenacious than 
the Roman Curia. The French Church was, in short, still 
exploited, but the fact that the spoilers were Frenchmen 
and not Italians made the Pragmatic Sanction acceptable 
to the nation in spite of its abuses. Yet to a King whose 
chief aim was to strengthen the royal authority, it seemed 
even more dangerous to share his control of the Church 
with his own subjects than with the Papacy. Such was 
the view of the question which presented itself to the 
Dauphin Louis. He at once ranged himself on the side of 
Pius n, and entered on negotiations with Rome with an 

1 Pithou, Preuves des libevtez de I Eglise Gallicane, vol. ii. pp. 289-95. 
M. Joannis Dauvet Procuratoris generalis protestatio nullitatis et 
appellatio ad futuram Concilium contra Orationem Pii n Pontificis, 
habitam in Conventu Mantuano, comminates ejusdem et censuras 
publicatas in Carolum vn Regem Francorum, 1460. 

2 Cf. Pius ii to Charles vn, March 1460. Quoted by Pastor, Appendix 
38, from Archivio Secreto del Vaticano. 



PIUS II AND EUROPE 209 

enthusiasm bred of the knowledge that he was opposing 
his father s policy. 

When in July 1461 the Dauphin became King Louis xi, 
he at once signified his intention of keeping his promises, 
and Pius addressed a warm letter of congratulation and 
encouragement to the new monarch. The letter contains 
the following significant sentence : "If your prelates and 
the University desire anything of us, let them approach 
us through your mediation ; for no Pope has ever loved the 
French nation more than ourselves, and we will refuse no 
request that can honestly be granted." x It was clear 
that Louis xi regarded the alliance with the Papacy as a 
means of bringing the Gallican Church under his heel, and 
that Pius was prepared to show his gratitude in a material 
form. When in December the names of six new Cardinals 
were published, those of two Frenchmen Jouffroy, Bishop 
of Arras, and Louis d Alb ret were among the number. 
Just at this time came Louis xi s letter to the Pope an 
nouncing that the Pragmatic Sanction was abolished. 2 
With tears of joy Pius told the news to his Consistory, and 
all hailed it as a signal triumph for the restored Papacy. 
" It is the greatest news that could come to the Apostolic 
See," wrote Goro Lolli to the Sienese Republic. " In one 
moment the Papacy has gained the Kingdom of France 
and has won the full obedience of all Christians. God be 
praised that during the reign of a Sienese Pope Holy 
Church should be thus exalted. And," adds the practical 
son of Siena, " it will be of no small advantage to our 
own city, for those who seek the Curia will double the 
number of travellers passing through our territories." 3 

The exultant Pope addressed an autograph letter to 
Louis xi, praising him for his noble action which showed 
him to be " a true scion of the Franks, and Most Christian 

1 Pius ii to Louis xi, Rome, 25 Oct. 1461 (Ep. 387, Opera, p. 
861). 

2 Louis xi to Pius 11, 27 Nov. 1461 (Ep. 388, Opera, p. 863). 
3 Gregorio Lolli to Siena, 26 Dec. 1461 (Pastor, Appendix 53, from 

Archivio di Stato, Siena). 

14 



210 POPE PIUS II 

King." 1 With it he sent a consecrated sword engraved 
with an elegant verse of his own composition inciting the 
French monarch to war against the Turk. 2 It seemed, 
indeed, as if Pius in a few short months had won all for which 
his predecessors, from Eugenius onwards, had pleaded in 
vain. The year ended in a glow of satisfaction with regard 
to the French question. Yet 1462 had hardly dawned before 
it transpired that Pius n s difficulties had begun rather 
than ended with the abolition of the Pragmatic Sanction. 

From the time that Louis as Dauphin opened negotia 
tions with the Papacy, his intermediary was the Burgundian 
Bishop of Arras, whose chief concern throughout had been 
to obtain a Cardinal s hat. " When Arras knew that he 
had sailed into port, and that there was no more uncertainty 
about the coveted honour, he began to write of Louis s 
intentions with regard to Naples, a subject upon which 
he had hitherto kept silence." 3 The upshot of his letters 
was that Louis had constituted himself the champion of 
Rene, and that he counted upon a complete reversal of 
the Papal policy in Naples. " By this means the King s 
wishes would be satisfied, and the Pragmatic Sanction 
would certainly be revoked." 

Shaken by the strength of the Angevin party in the 
Curia, harassed by threats of a General Council, and of 
direct intervention in Italy on the part of the French 
crown, Pius n passed, as we have seen, through his worst 
fit of irresolution with regard to his Neapolitan policy. 4 
Had it not been for the earnest representations of the 
Milanese ambassador, it seems probable that he would 
have succumbed to the pressure of France and abandoned 

1 Pius ii to Louis xi, 13 Jan. 1462, " manu propria " (Ep. 27, ed. 
Mediol.). 

z Commentarii, lib. vii. p. 184 

" Exerat in Turcas tua me Ludovic furentes 
Dextera : Graiorum sanguinis ulta ero, 
Corruet imperium Maumethis, et inclyta rursus 
Gallorum virtus, te petet astra duce." 
3 Commentarii, lib. vii. p. 186. 4 Cf . above, pp. 188-9. 



PIUS II AND EUROPE 



211 



Ferrante to his fate. But when he received the French 
embassy, which came to Rome in March 1462 to make 
formal surrender of the Pragmatic Sanction, the Pope 
had recovered from his panic. To the splendid offers of 
all that the French King would do for the Crusade once 
his cousin of Anjou reigned in Naples, the Pope replied 
" so sweetly, so eloquently, and so persuasively that the 
whole public Consistory was amazed." 1 The Sienese 
ambassador describes the oration as " something so 
glorious that it seemed divine rather than human." 2 
Yet he was forced to admit that this oratorical triumph 
had only been achieved by omitting all reference to two 
subjects of paramount importance the demands of the 
French King with regard to Naples and Genoa. From 
the point of view of the French envoys, the matter looked 
very different. When, after weeks of negotiation, they 
passed through Florence on their return journey, they 
summed up the situation in terms which augured ill for 
the future. " They said, in effect, that the Pope had 
given them many words, but no good deeds." 3 

The embassy of 1462 was followed by a long corre 
spondence between Pius and Louis xi, in which the latter 
tried by varying means to lure the Pope to the side of 
Anjou, while the former employed his literary talents in 
parrying the attacks of the French King. In the earlier 
stages of the duel, Louis adopted the method of concession. 
He performed an act of restitution in surrendering to the 
Papacy the Counties of Die and Valence on the eastern 
bank of the Rhone. 4 He also proposed a marriage 
between his daughter and Antonio Piccolomini shortly 
after the latter had wedded his Aragonese bride. On the 

1 B. Riverius, Report (Pastor, p. 150, from Archivio di Stato, 
Milano) . 

2 L. Petronius to Siena, Rome, 17 March 1462 (Pastor, Appendix 55, 
from Archivio di Stato, Siena). 

3 N. da Pontremoli to Francesco Sforza, Florence, 9 April 1462 (Pastor, 
p. 153, from Archivio di Stato, Milano). 

4 Raynaldus, Annales, 1462, Nos. 11-13. 



212 POPE PIUS II 

news that Antonio was already provided for, he heaped 
reproaches upon the Pope for having sold himself to the 
Aragonese. Pius, however, replied in his most urbane 
manner that he had followed his usual practice with re 
gard to his young relations, and had left the choice of a 
wife entirely in Antonio s own hands. 1 

When the departure of John of Calabria from Naples 
sealed the failure of Anjou, Louis let his fury break loose, 
and concession was abandoned for something like open 
hostility. The cause of his anger lay less in any concern 
for the fortunes of his cousins than in the feeling that he 
had been outwitted. He had thought to make the Pope 
his grateful servant by surrendering the Pragmatic 
Sanction. Neapolitan affairs had taught him his mistake, 
and he determined to rob Pius n of the fruits of his victory 
before it was too late. In the summer of 1462 the 
Seneschal of Toulouse visited the Pope at Viterbo, and 
delivered a threatening message to the effect that, if Pius 
did not mend his ways, the French Cardinals would be re 
called from the Curia. This was one of the comparatively 
rare occasions on which Pius lost his temper, and the 
diatribe which he poured forth upon the French nation 
in general, and its representatives at the Curia in particular, 
did not tend towards pacification. " Let them go, if they 
please," he retorted ; " the Curia will not be brought to 
ruin on that account. On the contrary, it will be repaired. 
Avarice, simony, luxury, and ambition will go with them, 
and all evil practices will cease with their departure. . . . 
Blessed is the Pope who has no Gauls at his Court. . . . 
Every day we have contended with them and their 
improper and dishonest demands. Let them go ; let them 
betake themselves afar. Then once more we may live 
peaceably and devoutly." 2 After this episode it is not 
surprising to hear of Louis writing a letter " unworthy 
of his dignity, and as though he were the Pope s superior," 

1 Pius ii to Louis xi, Viterbo, 10 May 1462 (Ep. 33, Mediol.). 

2 Cugnoni, p. 220 (omitted from Commentarii, viii. p. 202). 



PIUS II AND EUROPE 213 

in which he " condemned the works of the supreme Pontiff, 
and prescribed for him rules of conduct." l 

Meanwhile, feeling on the ecclesiastical problem in 
France ran high. The students of the University found 
vent for their indignation by performing a play in which 
rats were seen devouring the seals of the Pragmatic 
Sanction, and then receiving red hats. Every question 
of jurisdiction, every appointment in the Gallican Church, 
gave occasion for a struggle between the Pope and either 
the University or the Crown. Finally, the year 1463 
introduced a fresh stage of the conflict, and Louis de 
liberately set himself to neutralise the surrender of the 
Pragmatic Sanction. By a series of decrees, designed to 
defend the French nation against " the aggressions of 
Rome " and to restore " the ancient Gallican liberties," 
the Papacy was deprived of much of the practical ad 
vantage which it had gained by the restoration of 
obedience. " The King did not show himself so religious 
by the abolition of the Pragmatic Sanction as he showed 
himself sacrilegious by issuing such decrees," 2 is Pius n s 
comment on the situation. In the same year the Cardinal 
of Arras left Rome, to become as zealous a promoter of 
Louis xi s anti-Papal policy as he had once been of his 
alliance with the Pope. Meanwhile the French King 
opened negotiations with Pius n s enemies in Germany, 
and even went so far as to coquet with George of Bohemia s 
darling scheme of a secular Crusade against the Turk. 

Thus the relations between France and the Papacy 
at the end of Pius n s reign were hardly less strained 
than they had been at the beginning. The most that 
could be said was that formal obedience had been restored ; 
the obnoxious name of Pragmatic Sanction was no more, 
and it remained for successive kings to render the anti- 
Papal decrees more or less operative as seemed best to 
meet the political exigencies of the moment. From first 
to last the question of the Gallican Church had been 

1 Qommentarii, lib. jtii. pp, 323-4. * Ibid., p. 324, 



214 POPE PIUS II 

treated from the point of view of politics. On the accession 
of Louis xi the political situation was favourable to an 
understanding with the Papacy, and Pius, like a clever 
diplomatist, had seized the propitious moment to secure 
his brief triumph. He made the most of his opportunity 
while it lasted, so far as he could do so without sacrifice 
of his Italian policy. But now France had nothing more 
to gain from friendship with Rome. The political tide 
had set in a contrary direction, and the Pope was power 
less to stem it. 

II. BOHEMIA 

Pius n s treatment of the Bohemian problem forms 
perhaps the most disappointing episode in the history of 
his dealings with Europe. At the time of his accession, 
the question seemed ripe for settlement, and Pius the 
man of all others fitted to bring about a satisfactory 
solution. George Podiebrad, who had been chosen King 
of Bohemia after the death of Ladislas Postumus, was, 
for his part, sincerely desirous of a reconciliation with 
Rome. He was, as ^Eneas said of him, a prey to political 
ambition rather than to theological error, 1 and recognition 
by Rome seemed to him the only means of securing the 
allegiance of his Catholic subjects. On 7 May 1458 he 
had been crowned by two Catholic Bishops, acting with 
the consent of Calixtus in, and he had sworn to them in 
secret to do his utmost to restore his people to the faith 
and discipline of the Catholic Church. He was, in short, 
prepared to accept any compromise that would remove 
the taint of heresy from his kingdom, and at the same 
time satisfy the mass of his subjects who clung to 
Utraquism as the symbol of their faith and of their 
nationality. Pius n, on his side, fully appreciated the 
difficulties of the situation. Only three years before his 
accession he pleaded for the recognition of the Compacts 

1 Qommentarii, lib. i. p. 18, 



PIUS II AND EUROPE 215 

as the one hope of bringing back Bohemia to the fold, 1 
while his knowledge of the Bohemian people naturally 
inclined him to deal sympathetically with the religious 
question. It seemed as if Pope and King were ready to 
work together for a common end, and that their efforts 
would be crowned with success. Yet this apparent 
unanimity concealed a fundamental flaw which accounted 
for all subsequent failure. Both Pope and King desired 
the reconciliation of Bohemia with the Church, but each 
of them regarded it as a means to an end, and worked 
for it only in so far as it served his ultimate object. 
George s aim was to rule over a loyal and united people ; 
therefore a reconciliation with Rome which alienated his 
Hussite subjects had no attractions for him. Pius 
sought to re-establish the Papal supremacy over an 
undivided Christendom ; therefore he was not prepared 
to give peace to Bohemia at the cost of countenancing 
national separatism in matters ecclesiastical. Neither 
Pope nor King had any illusions about the dilemma in 
which they found themselves. George knew that Rome 
would not accept any compromise that would satisfy the 
Hussites. Pius, as his earlier advocacy of the Compacts 
showed, realised that Bohemia could only be won by 
recognising her peculiar rites. Each, however, relied on 
his own diplomatic gifts to steer him through the difficulty. 
It was, in fact, a struggle of wits between two well-matched 
combatants. 

The negotiations which followed Pius n s accession 
were entirely harmonious. When the Bohemian envoys 
came to proffer their obedience to the Pope at Siena, he 
refused to recognise George as King until he had made 
public profession of orthodoxy. But Pius could not 
remain obdurate in the face of Podiebrad s lavish offers of 
support against the Turk, and the letter inviting ambassadors 
to attend the Congress of Mantua spoke of " our dear son 

1 Cf. Oratio habita coram Calixto III de Compactatis Bohemorum, 1453 
(Pii II Orationes, Mansi, vol. i. p. 352). 



216 POPE PIUS II 

in Christ the King of the Bohemians." 1 On George s reply 
that he could do nothing to further either the Crusade 
or the question of reunion until he was lord over all his 
people, Pius sent envoys to Bohemia who did much to 
secure George s recognition by his Catholic subjects. Even 
the fiery Catholics of Breslau consented to a three years 
truce, on the expiration of which they would do homage 
to their King as " a true and undoubted Catholic." This 
truce (13 January 1460) evoked general rejoicing. George 
was loud in his expressions of gratitude, and Pius looked 
forward to the speedy arrival of an embassy which 
would bring the affair of Bohemia to a triumphant con 
clusion. 2 

The embassy, like others of its kind, was long in coming, 
and it was not until March 1462 that the Bohemians entered 
Rome, headed by Pius n s old friend, Procopius von 
Rabstein, and a Hussite noble, Sdenek Kostka of Postupic. 
In the two years interval the course of events, both in 
Bohemia and Rome, had placed fresh obstacles in the way 
of reconciliation. Complaints had come from Breslau that 
the recent edicts of Rokycana, the Hussite Archbishop of 
Prag, were forcing good Catholics either to accept the 
chalice or to leave the country. 3 At the same time, George s 
friendly relations with the Papacy had so alarmed the 
Hussites that they required their King to give a solemn 
promise to stand by the Compacts. Procopius stated the 
dilemma fairly enough when he explained to Bessarion 
that George was lord over two kinds of people in Bohemia, 
and that it was impossible for him to favour one party 
without shaking the loyalty of the other. 4 As to Pius, he 
had already grown suspicious of the good faith of his 
" beloved son." " He is half a heretic, a deceiver from 

1 Pius ii to Procopius von Rabstein, Mantua, 12 June 1459 (Pastor, 
Appendix 16, from Archivio Secreto del Vaticano). 

2 Cf. Pius ii to Carvajal, Siena, 12 March 1460 (Raynaldus, 1460, 
No. 92) ; and Voigt, iii. pp. 448-51. 

3 Cf. Voigt, vol. iii. p. 452. 

4 Palacky, Geschichte von Bohmen, Bd. iv. (2), p. 220. 



PIUS II AND EUROPE 217 

his cradle, and is not to be trusted," 1 he told the Milanese 
ambassador. Moreover, the worst crises of Pius n s reign 
were over with the year 1461. Both at home and abroad 
the position of the Papacy was improving. In the very 
week that the Bohemians arrived in Rome, the French 
embassy came to surrender the Pragmatic Sanction. It 
was not a time to make concessions. The shining example 
of the French King was held up before the Bohemians, and, 
in an interview with Procopius, Cardinal Bessarion pointed 
out that the effect of Louis xi s obedience had been to give 
him full control over the Church in his realm. " Your 
King," he added, " has only to act in a like manner to 
receive a like reward." 2 

On 20 March the Bohemians had their first public 
audience with the Pope. After the customary proffer of 
obedience, the Hussites petitioned for the confirmation of 
the Compacts, and Pius, in a two hours oration, pointed 
out the misery and confusion which they had brought to 
Bohemia. It was not, he said, a case of confirming them 
but of setting them aside. 3 Various other conferences 
followed, which must have reminded Pius very forcibly 
of the proceedings which he witnessed in his youth at Basel. 
Then as now the Hussites came to argue as equals, or 
rather as those who had been singled out by Divine favour 
for special enlightenment. Pius, as the Council before him, 
was prepared to pass judgment as a superior, and to treat 
the Compacts, which the Hussites regarded as their in 
violable right, as a purely temporary concession. Accord 
ing to the Pope s view of the matter, the time for concession 
was over, and in the final audience on 31 March he made 
clear his position. 4 The Compacts had been broken re 
peatedly by the Hussites ; they had offended the Bohemian 
Catholics, they had encouraged heretical beliefs, they had 
impeded friendly relations between Bohemia and her 

1 D. Carretto to Francesco Sforza, 12 March 1462 (Pastor, p. 225). 

2 Palacky, op. cit. 3 Commentarii, vii. pp. 188-9. 
4 Mansi, Pii II Orationes, vol. ii. p. 93. 



2i8 POPE PIUS II 

neighbours, they had proved harmful to the country s 
true welfare. " Because we desire your salvation," Pius 
concluded, " we refuse your request." Thereupon the 
Papal procurator, Antonio da Gubbio, came forward, and 
read the following declaration : " Our most Holy Lord 
Pope has extinguished and destroyed the Compacts granted 
by the Council of Basel to the Bohemians, and has said that 
Communion under both kinds is in nowise necessary to 
salvation, nor will he hold the obedience made to be real 
obedience until the King, uprooting and extirpating all 
errors, has brought the kingdom of Bohemia into union 
with the Roman Church." l The decisive step had been 
taken, and Pius hoped that he had put an end to George s 
procrastinations and evasions and had forced him to 
abandon the Utraquists. When the Bohemians came to 
take their leave, Pius received them in the garden and 
talked confidentially and persuasively to the Hussite 
leaders. He witnessed their departure in the firm belief 
that his measures had succeeded, and that the submission 
of Bohemia would soon be an accomplished fact. 

George was now forced to declare himself. In this 
respect at any rate Papal diplomacy had not erred. Yet, 
contrary to Pius n s calculations, George repudiated his 
coronation oath, disregarded his repeated promises, and took 
his stand openly and decisively on the side of the Hussites. 
His speech at the Diet of Prag in August amounted to a 
declaration of war upon the Papacy. As an answer to 
the charge of not fulfilling his coronation oath, he read the 
words of the oath to the assembled multitude, and then 
said, " in the Bohemian tongue" : " You have heard that 
we swore to renounce heresy and to rid our kingdom of 
heretics. Know, then, that we have no love for heretics ; 
but the Pope desires to treat Communion under both kinds 
and our Compacts as heresy. This we never contemplated, 
as they are founded on Christ s Gospel and are an heritage 
of the primitive Church, granted to us by the Council of 

1 Palacky, Urkundliche Beitrdge, p. 269 {Ponies rerum Austriacarum, xx.). 



PIUS II AND EUROPE 219 

Basel in acknowledgment of our virtue and devotion. . . . 
We were born and brought up in this Communion, and in 
it, by the grace of God, we have attained to kingly dignity. 
We shall cleave to it and defend it, and in it we shall live and 
die. Our Consort, sitting at our right hand, our children, 
and all who love us, must also live in conformity with the 
Compacts ; for we hold that there is no other way for the 
salvation of our souls." l 

Not content with repudiating the authority of Rome 
in his own country, Podiebrad threw himself into an 
elaborate scheme for undermining the position of the 
Papacy in Europe. His agent was a certain Anton Marini 
of Grenoble, who startled the world by his proposition that 
Christian princes and nations would never cease to cling 
to Rome as long as the Holy See alone took thought for 
the defence of Christendom against the Turk. 2 The 
principal features of the scheme were the initiation of a 
secular Crusade with the object of placing George of Bohemia 
upon the throne of Constantinople, and the reform of the 
Church by means of a General Council of European Princes. 
For the next two years Marini travelled to and fro between 
the various Courts of Europe, endeavouring to enlist under 
his banner all elements of opposition to the Papacy. Yet 
his scheme was too revolutionary and fantastic even for 
the fifteenth century. Louis xi might welcome his proposals 
as a means of bringing pressure to bear upon the Papacy, 
but he had no real intention of making common cause 
with Bohemian heretics. The scheme did not enlist the 
sympathies of Europe, and Venice only expressed public 
opinion in saying that, much as she welcomed Marini s 
proposals for a Crusade, the co-operation of the Head of 
Christendom was necessary to give weight to the under 
taking. 3 Nevertheless, the blow to Papal prestige was 

1 Palacky, Urkundliche Beitrdge, p. 275. Cf. also Commentarii, lib. x. 
P- 237- 

2 Cf . Palacky, Geschichte Bohmens, iv. (2), pp. 239-40; Voigt, iii. 
pp. 487 seq. 

3 Palacky, Urkundliche Beitrdge, pp. 289-90, 



220 POPE PIUS II 

sufficiently severe, and it sealed the failure of Pius n s re 
lations with Bohemia. He had hoped to win George Podie- 
brad by friendly support, and then to clench his victory by 
a display of firmness at the critical moment. George had 
used Papal support to strengthen his hold upon Bohemia, 
and then, when the Papal alliance no longer served him, he 
had abandoned it without scruple. Pius n had, for once, been 
worsted in a diplomatic struggle. He thought to manipu 
late the King of Bohemia for his own purposes ; he learned, 
to his mortification, that he had been used as George s tool. 
Even after the Diet of Prag, Pius still hoped for re 
conciliation. When Podiebrad constituted himself the 
champion of the Emperor, and Frederick besought Pius 
to stay his hand, the latter agreed to postpone proceedings 
against " George, who calls himself King of the Bohemians/ 
on condition that the Catholics of Breslau were not molested. 1 
Yet in the end he was forced to recognise that George s 
movements towards friendship were mere attempts to gain 
time. In the last Consistory which Pius held at the 
Vatican (16 June 1464) it was decided to proceed against 
George as a perjured and relapsed heretic, and a Bull was 
drawn up summoning him to Rome. 2 But before the 
Bull could take effect Pius n was no more, and the Bohemian 
problem remained to occasion fresh controversy and fresh 
warfare during the reign of his successor. 

III. GERMANY 

If in France and Bohemia Pius n found himself pitted 
against the forces of centralisation and nationality, in 
Germany he had to contend with the many-headed monster 
of disorder. A mortal sickness, said Nicholas of Cusa, 
had attacked the Holy Roman Empire. Amid the general 
tale of weakness, irresolution, and inefficiency which con 
stitutes the history of the Empire at this period, one 

1 Cf. Cugnoni, pp. 145-54, and Pastor, vol. iii. p. 239. 
2 Cf. Pastor, vol. iii. p. 239, and Voigt, iii. p. 500. 



PIUS II AND EUROPE 221 

policy alone was pursued with consistency and effect 
namely, the policy of the great territorial nobles in trans 
forming themselves from feudatories into sovereign princes. 
To this land of warring interests and divided authority 
Pius sought to restore some measure of unity in order that 
the forces of the Empire might be concentrated upon the 
Crusade. The difficulties in his path were gigantic, but 
his intimate knowledge of German politics was a definite 
asset in his favour. Personal experience enabled him to 
take the measure of Imperial Diets and Electoral Leagues, 
and prevented him from being too much discouraged by 
the apathy of the one or unduly alarmed at the transitory 
opposition of the other. Yet his former connection with 
Germany had one disadvantage. yneas Silvius had 
belonged of necessity to the Imperial party, and Pius n 
found it impossible to dissociate himself from the friendships 
and enmities of earlier years. Thus he approached German 
politics as a partisan when he should have appeared as an 
arbiter, with the inevitable result that many of his diffi 
culties were partly of his own making. 

In 1459, the chief element of disturbance in Germany 
lay in the strife between the two great territorial families 
of Wittelsbach and Hohenzollern. 1 Louis, Duke of Bavaria, 
who headed the party of opposition to the Emperor, had 
laid violent hands upon the free city of Donauwerth ; 
Albert Achilles, the brother of the Elector of Brandenburg, 
who posed as the Emperor s agent and ally, had been 
charged with the task of punishing the outrage. Pius n 
knew enough of German princes to realise that the Crusade 
would gain scant attention so long as the affair of Donau 
werth remained undecided, and he arranged for his legates 
to act as arbiters in the dispute. Yet, whereas his impres 
sions of Louis of Bavaria were derived chiefly from that 
sunny morning when the Duke refused to leave his hunting 
in order to accompany ^Eneas Silvius to the Congress of 
Regensburg, Albert of Brandenburg was a favourite of 

1 Cf. Voigt, iii. pp. 213-9. 



222 POPE PIUS II 

many years standing. The ruling of the Papal legates 
proved so manifestly one-sided that the Wittelsbach party 
refused to accept the settlement. In the spring of 1460 
war broke out with fresh vehemence, just at the time 
when Cardinal Bessarion arrived in Germany to negotiate 
with the princes upon the subject of the Crusade. 

The intrepid Greek Cardinal embarked upon his mission 
in the spirit of an enthusiast and a martyr. At the age of 
sixty-five he crossed the Alps in midwinter, ready for any 
sacrifice that would serve the cause which he had at heart. 
But he was not prepared for the blank indifference with 
which the whole Turkish question was regarded in Germany. 
At the Diet of Niirnberg, his impassioned exhortations fell 
on deaf ears ; and although he could not restrain his tears 
as he told of fresh disasters upon the Hungarian frontier, 
his audience remained unmoved. " Few were gathered 
to meet him, and he received scant attention from those 
present," 1 is the Pope s poignant epitome of the proceed 
ings. Further deliberations were postponed until the 
autumn, owing to the Hohenzollern- Wittelsbach war, but 
the Diet which eventually met at Vienna was as abortive 
as its predecessor. Albert Achilles, who had been defeated 
in the field and forced to sign a humiliating peace, was in 
no mood for a Crusade. Any attempt to secure the levy 
of the Turkish tithe evoked opposition. The princes, said 
the Chronicler of Speyer, had " too many wars among 
themselves to seek another with the Turk." 2 To the fiery 
old Cardinal the situation became intolerable, and in 
November he was already writing piteous letters to Rome, 
begging to be recalled. 

Pius ii replied with exhortations to patience and modera 
tion, holding up CarvajaTs long sojourn in Hungary as an 
example of persevering devotion to the Church s cause. 
Yet the fact that Diether, Archbishop of Mainz, who had 
sided with the Hohenzollern in the recent war, appeared 

1 Pius ii to the German princes, 8 July 1460 (Raynaldus, 1460, No. 85). 

2 Cf. Voigt, iii. p. 223. 



PIUS II AND EUROPE 223 

in the party of opposition at Vienna, did not contribute 
to his peace of mind. 1 The causes of Diether s change of 
front lay outside the main questions at issue, in a private 
quarrel with the Papacy. In 1459 Diether was made 
Archbishop of Mainz, but there was some doubt as to the 
validity of his election, and Pius demanded his personal 
appearance at the Curia before confirming him in the 
possession of the see. Diether did not obey the summons, 
and eventually the Bull of confirmation was given to his 
envoys on condition that he should come to Italy within 
a year, and pay the annates which had been promised on 
his behalf. But Diether, says Pius n, " was distinguished 
not so much by his noble birth as by perfidy and ambition." 2 
Once secure of his position, he repudiated his obligations, 
vowed that the payments required of him were excessive 
and unprecedented, and finally had recourse to the time- 
honoured device of an appeal to a General Council. Sentence 
of excommunication had already been pronounced upon 
him when the Diet of Vienna enabled him to use the 
political situation for his own ends. By placing himself 
at the head of the anti-Papal, anti-Imperial party, he hoped 
to frighten the Curia into submission on the question of 
annates, and, as Primate of the German Church, to win 
for himself new independence of the Papacy. "There are 
two objects," the Archbishop announced, " upon which I 
have set my heart. If I can accomplish them I shall die 
happy. One is that we should depose our feeble Emperor 
and put a better man in his place. The other is that we 
should free ourselves from the yoke of the Apostolic See." 3 
Before the year (1460) was out he had joined with the Elector 
Palatine in a scheme for making George Podiebrad King 
of the Romans, and for the settlement of the German 
Church upon lines largely independent of the Papacy. 

1 Diether was not present in person at Vienna, but his representative 
took a prominent part in the opposition to Bessarion. Cf. Pastor, iii. 
pp. 168-9. 

2 Commentarii, lib. iii. p. 64. 

3 Cugnoni, p. 207 (omitted from Commentarii, lib. v. p. 126). 



224 POPE PIUS II 

The alliance between Diether and the King of Bohemia 
proved less dangerous to the Papacy than might have been 
expected, owing to the fact that George, at this period, was 
anxious to avoid giving offence to Pius n. Hard words 
were spoken of both Pope and Emperor at the assembly 
of princes at Bamberg, but George contrived that effective 
opposition should be directed against the Emperor alone. 
Diether, however, persisted in his enmity. In February 
1461 he threw down a fresh challenge by taking into his 
service the arch-enemy of the Holy See and of its present 
occupant, Gregory Heimburg. Nearly fifteen years had 
passed since the first round of the duel between Heimburg 
and ^Eneas Silvius, but the memory of his defeat still rankled 
in Heimburg s mind, and the episode of the Congress of 
Mantua had by no means satiated his desire for vengeance. 
Thus Gregory and Diether made common cause over their 
personal antipathy to Pius n, and their alliance brought 
the Mainz dispute into relation with a still more burning 
problem of German ecclesiastical politics the quarrel 
between Sigismund of Tyrol and Nicholas of Cusa, Bishop 
of Brixen. 

The origin of the Brixen quarrel was not of Pius n s 
making. 1 It lay as far back as the year 1450, when Nicholas 
of Cusa was appointed to the vacant see, and determined 
to put his reforming principles into practice by making his 
own diocese a model of organisation and discipline. Cusa s 
appointment was a breach of the Concordat of Vienna, the 
choice of the Chapter having been overridden in his favour. 
Thus patriotic sentiment was against him from the first, 
and the misplaced zeal with which he attempted to force 
his own standards of order upon his flock soon brought 
matters to a crisis. Cusa was a mystic of the type of S. 
Bernard, in that he combined all the charm and tenderness 
of mystical thought with a certain harshness and rigidity 
in action. Aghast at the moral degradation and lax dis- 

1 The whole subject is treated exhaustively in Jager, Der Streit des 
Cardinals Nicolaits von Cusa mit dem Hevzoge Sigmund von (Esterreich. 



PIUS II AND EUROPE 225 

cipline of the monasteries under his charge, he did not 
pause to consider the expediency or possibility of carrying 
out drastic reforms which found no sanction in public 
opinion. Journeying from monastery to monastery, he 
prescribed rules and put down abuses, but the reforms which 
he effected hardly survived the hour when he pronounced 
his farewell blessing. Among his most vehement opponents 
were the nuns of Sonnenberg, a Benedictine convent under 
the protection of Count Sigismund, which formed a favourite 
retreat for the daughters of the Tyrolese nobility. Eventu 
ally the Abbess Verena was excommunicated by Cusa, and her 
indignant nuns appealed against the sentence to Sigismund. 
The question then resolved itself into a duel between Count 
and Bishop over their respective rights as temporal and 
spiritual overlords of the convent. At the time of Pius n s 
election, Cusa had already fled from the diocese, saying 
that his life was in danger ; Sigismund lay under sentence 
of excommunication, and the rebellious nuns had been 
driven from Sonnenberg by force of arms. 

Despite these overt acts of hostility, both Count and 
Bishop honestly desired a settlement, and Pius n s accession 
afforded some hope of bringing the matter to a peaceful 
conclusion. ^Eneas Silvius and Nicholas of Cusa were 
men of widely divergent type, but they had been intimately 
associated since the days when they both hung upon the 
words of Cesarini at Basel. Sigismund conceived a liking 
for .^Eneas Silvius during the period of his sojourn at the 
Imperial Court. He was the recipient of one of ^neas s 
treatises on education, and he adopted him in the double 
capacity of tutor and friend. Both Cusa and Sigismund, 
therefore, were disposed to accept the Pope s mediation, 
and Pius was sincerely anxious to act fairly by them. Un 
fortunately, there were two factors in the dispute which 
made the failure of attempts at settlement almost a fore 
gone conclusion. One was Cusa s rigid, unsympathetic 
spirit ; the other was the interposition of Heimburg as 
Sigismund s chief spokesman and agent. 
15 



226 POPE PIUS II 

By the time that the Brixen quarrel came before the 
Pope at Mantua, the original cause of the dispute, " the 
rebellion of Jezebel," as Cusa termed it, was at an end. 
The Abbess Verena had done penance and received absolu 
tion, and a new Abbess was reigning in her stead. But the 
Bishop had contrived to alienate all classes in his diocese. 
The clergy resented the importation of foreign ecclesiastics 
from Cusa s native Rhineland. The nobles disliked the 
stricter regime imposed upon their daughters at Sonnen- 
berg. The populace was alienated by the suppression of 
certain annual fairs and public dances. Thus Sigismund 
was conscious of having public opinion behind him, and 
when Cusa put forward a claim to rank as a Prince of the 
Empire, and as such to reckon the Count of Tyrol among 
his vassals, the opposition of his adversary was stiffened. 
Nevertheless, a temporary reconciliation was obtained 
under the Pope s auspices, and both Count and Bishop 
agreed to leave the technical points in dispute to be deter 
mined by legal process. Yet, owing to Heimburg s share 
in the proceedings, Sigismund quitted Mantua in doubt as 
to the Pope s good faith, while Pius was left sore and irri 
tated by Heimburg s spiteful references to past history, 
knowing that the worst interpretation would be placed 
upon his actions. 

Five months after the settlement at Mantua, Cusa was 
a prisoner in Sigismund s hands. The quarrel broke out 
again immediately after Cusa s return to Tyrol, and in 
April 1460, when the Bishop was at Briineck, Sigismund 
surrounded the town with troops, took forcible possession 
of Cusa s person, and only released him after he had signed 
a treaty yielding all that his captor asked. Cusa then left 
for Italy, never to return, and to Pius fell the unwelcome 
task of punishing the outrage. Sigismund had acted 
under strong provocation, but such violent measures 
threatened the whole position of the Church, and Pius 
could not do less than summon him to Rome for trial. 
Sigismund replied by an appeal to a better-instructed Pope, 



PIUS II AND EUROPE 227 

which was rather an assumption that Pius did not know 
the circumstances than a defiance of his authority. But 
to Pius, fresh from the Bull Execrabilis, any appeal was 
obnoxious ; and on the Count s failure to appear in Rome, 
sentence of excommunication was pronounced against him. 
This was followed, in August 1460, by a second appeal, 
drawn up by Heimburg, and calculated in its every phrase 
to render the breach with the Papacy irreparable. The new 
appeal was disseminated throughout Germany and Italy. 
It formed the prelude to a war of writings between the Pope 
and Heimburg, which gave rise to great display of literary 
talent, but which contributed little to the dignity of the 
Holy See. Pius made the fatal mistake of descending to 
a personal attack upon his rival. He wrote to the citizens 
of Niirnberg warning them against " that son of the devil, 
Gregory Heimburg," the instigator of Sigismund s wrong 
doing, who had composed the " impious and seditious 
appeal to a future Council. . . . For this deed, and because 
he is a chatterer, a liar, presumptuous, and rebellious, we 
have excommunicated him. We exhort you, therefore, 
to hold this pestiferous fellow as excommunicate and 
deprived of the privileges of citizenship." x 

Heimburg promptly took up the challenge, and made 
a detailed indictment of Pius n, as a private person, as a 
politician, and as a Pope, which rivalled the fiercest of 
humanist invectives. 2 " The Pope," he wrote, " calls me 
a chatterer, but he himself is more garrulous than a mag 
pie. ... I, at least, have not despised the precepts of Civil 
and Canon Law. He is content with pure verbosity, and 
is of the number of those who think that everything can be 
ruled by rhetoric. . . . He accuses me of greed, falsehood, 
and rebellion ... let him consider his own past life." 
With regard to the political situation, Germany is ex 
horted to hold fast that which has been gained. " The 
Council is the fortress of your liberties, the foundation- 

1 Pius ii to Nuremberg, 18 Oct. 1460 (Ep. 400, Opera, p. 932). 
8 January 1461. Cf. Freher, Rer. Ger. Script., vol. ii. pp. 211-5. 



228 POPE PIUS II 

stone of your dignity." 1 The supremacy of General 
Councils must be recognised as the last stronghold of resist 
ance to Papal aggression, and Heimburg himself as its 
most whole-hearted champion. " This," he cries, in his 
final manifesto, " this is the heresy of Gregory his con 
stancy in resisting Papal avarice. This is the sacrilege of 
Gregory his championship of liberty, his defence of the 
Holy Councils threatened by the Mantuan decree. This 
is his treason he disturbed the Papal plot for spoiling 
Germany." 2 

Such was the condition of the Brixen quarrel when 
Heimburg entered the service of Archbishop Diether, in 
February 1461, on the day before the opening of the Diet of 
Niirnberg. Everything combined to make this Diet the 
climax of German opposition to the Papacy. At Heim- 
burg s instigation, Diether issued a formal appeal to a future 
General Council, and committed himself and his cause to its 
protection. The rival houses of Wittelsbach and Hohen- 
zollern united in his support, and letters of protest were 
addressed to the Pope against the exorbitant demands of 
the Curia with regard to the Mainz annates, and against 
Bessarion s attempts to raise money for the Crusade. To 
set a seal upon the whole agitation, Heimburg was dis 
patched to the Court of France to consult with Charles vii 
over the possibility of combined action against Pope and 
Emperor. A letter addressed to Pius n by Cardinal 
Bessarion in March 1461 shows the gravity of the situation. 
The complaints about the levy of Turkish tithes, Bes 
sarion informed his master, were the outward expression of 
a many-sided opposition to the Papacy. In the first 
place, the Pope was regarded as " quite devoted to the 
Emperor," and was hated by the princes for this reason 
alone. Hardly less serious was " the disgraceful in- 

1 Freher, Rev. Gey. Script., p. 212. 

2 Apologia Gregorii Heimburg contra detractiones et blasphemias Theodori 
Laelii (Freher, pp. 228-55). The whole controversy is given both in 
Freher and in Goldast, Monarchia, T. ii. pp. 1576-1634. 



PIUS II AND EUROPE 229 

gratitude of Diether," who paid not the slightest heed to 
the Papal excommunication, and in whose household Rome 
was reviled daily. " The extravagances from the pen of 
the shameless heretic, Gregory Heimburg," added fuel to 
the fire, which was fanned both by the Pope s enemies in 
France and by " the perpetual complaints of Duke Sigis- 
mund." l 

Confronted by this union of hostile forces, Pius could 
not but tremble for his whole position in Germany. Yet 
it was precisely in these crises that his knowledge of 
German methods stood him in good stead. He knew 
that the opposition was less formidable than it appeared, 
just because there was no real union between its con 
stituent parts. Diether of Mainz, the Brandenburg 
princes, Sigismund of Tyrol, might act together for the 
moment in order to serve their private ends ; they were 
incapable of sinking personal interests in a common move 
ment for the good of Germany. Thus Bessarion s report 
caused no vital change in the Papal policy. Its chief 
effect was to bring to the unhappy Cardinal his long- 
coveted release. Pius realised that he was ill and depressed, 
and that he could do no further good in Germany. In 
September, Bessarion left for Rome, thankful to be quit 
of a task in which his failure was already proved, and to 
turn his back on a country where " Greek and Latin 
culture were not esteemed." Pius, meanwhile, awaited 
the inevitable jealousies which would act upon this formid 
able coalition as the summer sun upon the snows. 

He had not long to wait. The very Diet of Niirnberg 
which marked the triumph of the anti-Papal, anti-Imperial 
party contained the germ of its dissolution. George of 
Bohemia had for some time past aspired to be King of 
the Romans, and now that the deposition of the Emperor 
was actually mooted, it seemed possible that he would 
attain his ambition. The Elector of Brandenburg, 

1 Cardinal Bessarion to Pius n, Vienna, 29 March 1461 (Pastor, pp. 173-5, 
from Archivio Secreto del Vaticano, Arm. xxxix. T. 10, f. 3). 



230 POPE PIUS II 

however, declared that he would rather die than consent 
to the election of the Bohemian King. 1 Thus his adherence 
to the party of opposition at Niirnberg was prompted by 
the desire to neutralise George s influence, and in all 
probability to press the claims of his brother, Albert Achilles. 
Meanwhile Albert played a double game, revealing the 
projects of the princes to Frederick in " in deep secrecy," 
and claiming that he had acted throughout as the Em 
peror s champion. 2 George, meanwhile, negotiated with 
Pius n, offering to restore Bohemia to the Roman obedi 
ence and to head the Crusade in person, if the Pope 
would recognise him as King of the Romans. The result 
of these intrigues was to unite Pope and Emperor against 
a common foe. " They seek to lay down the law to us 
both, and to diminish the authority of the Holy Roman 
Church and Empire," wrote Frederick to the Pope. " It 
behoves us to bear one another s burdens in love, and to 
support one another with mutual counsel and aid." 3 
Pius replied with warm words of encouragement and 
friendship. "Be of good cheer ; it is difficult to over 
throw the Apostolic See and the Roman Empire at the 
same time. Their roots are planted too deep for the 
wind to prevail against them, although we who are poised 
on their summit must expect to feel the blast. Our part 
is to persevere, and by solid virtue to defeat the machina 
tions of evil men." 4 

Having thus fortified each other for the struggle, Pope 
and Emperor set themselves to dissolve the opposition 
by the time-honoured means. Frederick sent his Marshal 
through Germany in order to dissuade individual princes 
from attending the proposed Diet at Frankfort. Pius 
commissioned his envoys to treat separately with the 

1 Commentarii, lib. v. p. 126. 

2 Palacky, Geschichte von Bohmen, iv. 2, p. 179. Cf. also Voigt, iii. 

PP- 241-51- 

3 Frederick in to Pius n, 7 April 1461 ; Birk, Urkunden Auszuge mr 
Geschichte Kaiser Friedrich III, 1452-67. 

4 Pius n to Frederick in, 7 May 1461 (Ep. 22, ed. Mediolanum) . 



PIUS II AND EUROPE 231 

various persons who had grievances against the Holy See. 
So well did these tactics succeed that, before the time 
came for the Diet, the city of Frankfort had refused to 
receive the assembly within its walls ; Albert Achilles, 
the Elector Palatine, and the Archbishop of Trier had 
withdrawn their appeal to a General Council ; and Diether 
of Mainz was practically isolated. He would probably 
have yielded without further delay but for the determina 
tion of Heimburg, who persuaded the Archbishop to re 
ceive the Diet in his own city of Mainz. 

The proceedings which took place at Mainz in May 
and June 1461 completed the triumph of the Papal party. 
The question was raised as to whether Heimburg, being 
excommunicate, should be allowed to address the Diet. 
Diether, however, overrode the protests of the Papal 
Legates, and Heimburg spoke in his usual strain. " His 
oration was so full of blasphemies and errors that hence 
forth he was called not Gregorius but Errorius." 1 Then, 
in an able and trenchant speech, the Papal envoy, Rudolf 
of Rudesheim, vindicated the authority and policy of the 
Curia. He won a notable victory for his cause. " The 
Diet, persuaded by his oration, did nothing that Diether 
asked. Gregory departed in confusion, and the witnesses 
produced on Diether s behalf gave evidence against him." * 
Such is the sweeping summary of the Commentaries, and 
although Pius may have overrated the influence of his 
representative, the fact remains that the opposition was 
utterly broken down. 3 Diether could only make abject 
submission to the Papacy. " He called the Papal Legates 
to him and spake much of what had been done, promising 
to be henceforth another man, to renounce the appeal, 
and to obey Pius for the rest of his life." 4 In this 

1 Commentarii, lib. vi. p. 143. Pastor (iii. p. 200) maintains that Gregory 
was prevented from speaking, but cf. Lesca, p. 154. 

2 Commentarii, lib. vi. p. 145. 

3 Cf . Voigt, iii. pp. 254-60, who considers the Archbishop of Trier and 
the Brandenburg envoys the chief instruments of the victory. 

* Commentarii, lib. vi. p. 145. 



232 POPE PIUS II 

chastened frame of mind he no longer required the services 
of Gregory Heimburg, and the latter retired in disgust 
to the Court of Sigismund of Tyrol. Thus ended another 
round of the duel between Heimburg and ^Eneas, leaving 
the fruits of the victory on the whole with the latter. 
But Heimburg had dealt his adversary some hard blows. 
His pertinacity was unbounded, and he looked forward 
with undiminished ardour to fresh encounters in the 
future. 

The Diet of Mainz marked a definite stage in German 
ecclesiastical history. From the time of the declaration 
of neutrality in 1438 there had been signs of a movement 
for reforming the German Church on national lines, 
through the concerted action of the princes. The move 
ment had always been tentative and feeble. It may 
even be said that it had, from the first, been doomed to 
failure, because the princes, with whom territorial interests 
were paramount, could never bring themselves to give it 
persistent and whole-hearted support. A grant of privileges 
which would increase his hold over the Church in his own 
dominions was sufficient to turn the keenest patriot from 
his path. Now, however, this national reform move 
ment was definitely at an end. The victory of Papal su 
premacy over German independence, begun by ^Eneas 
Silvius in the Concordat of Vienna, had been completed 
by Pius ii at the Diet of Mainz. Pius had still to face 
considerable opposition in Germany. The problems of 
Mainz and Brixen, to take the two most prominent 
examples, were by no means solved. But of organised 
national opposition he knew no more. His remorseless 
power of seeing things as they are had pierced the hollow- 
ness of German patriotism, and his diplomacy had enabled 
him to expose it. 

For more than two years after the Diet of Mainz 
the quarrel over the Archbishopric continued to harass 
Germany. Diether s promises were made only to be 
broken, and in 1461 he was deposed from his office, Adolf 



PIUS II AND EUROPE 233 

of Nassau being made Archbishop in his stead. There 
followed a protracted struggle between Adolf and Diether 
for the possession of the see. The quarrel became part 
of the great Wittelsbach-Hohenzollern feud, and civil war 
devastated the unhappy diocese. At last, in October 
1462, Adolf succeeded in capturing the city of Mainz, and 
from that time forward Diether became amenable to 
negotiation. The reconciliation was effected by the new 
Archbishop of Cologne, a brother of the Count Palatine, 
and in October 1463 Diether agreed to recognise Adolf as 
Archbishop, retaining a certain portion of territory in his 
own hands. On these terms he made his peace with the 
Papacy and received absolution. Meanwhile, the affairs 
of the Emperor, always closely associated with those of 
the Pope, also took a favourable turn. In the autumn 
of 1462, when he was besieged in the citadel of Vienna by 
his own Austrian subjects, headed by his brother Albert, 
he found an unexpected ally in George of Bohemia. Poor 
Germany, miserable Christendom," sighed Pius n ; " the 
Emperor can only be saved by a heretic King." 1 Owing 
to the heretic s timely intervention, Frederick was able 
to tide over the crisis until the death of his brother Albert 
in December 1463 ended his most serious difficulties. 

When his own horizon had cleared, Frederick set himself 
to effect a reconciliation between the Pope and Sigismund. 
" Most Holy Father," he wrote in February 1464, "it is 
time that this matter should be settled. The authority 
of the Church is too little respected. In consideration of 
the times in which we live, a little indulgence is necessary." z 
The condition of Tyrol at this time afforded clear proof 
that ecclesiastical penalties no longer commended them 
selves to the conscience of the age. 3 If the Papal censures 
had been carried into effect, Tyrol would have been shunned 

1 Pius ii to Frederick m, Rome, i Jan. 1463 (Ep. 39, ed. Mediol.). 

2 Frederick in to Pius n, 2 Feb. 1464 ; Jager, Der Streit, vol. ii. 
pp. 414-5. 

3 Cf. Voigt, iii. pp. 396-403. 



234 POPE PIUS II 

like a plague spot, cut off from trade with her neighbours, 
a prey to robbers, deprived of all ecclesiastical privileges. 
But in practice they were little regarded, and Sigismund 
felt that he had his subjects behind him when he refused 
to apologise or retract until the censures were removed. 
But in matters which involved the dignity of the Holy 
See, Pius could be obstinate in the extreme. " Must we 
recall our actions ? " he asked. " Must we accuse our 
selves of injustice in order that he (Sigismund) need not 
acknowledge his insolence ? " * At last he yielded to the 
general desire for a settlement, and it was decided that the 
terms of peace proposed by the Emperor should be accepted. 
On 25 Aug. 1464 Frederick in, acting as Sigismund s 
representative, besought pardon and received absolution 
from the Papal Legate. But before this final termination 
of the Brixen struggle both Nicholas of Cusa and Pius n 
had ceased to live. 2 Of all the combatants in the great 
ecclesiastical war only Gregory Heimburg remained un 
repentant and unabsolved. Champion of a lost cause as 
far as Germany was concerned, he betook himself to 
Bohemia, trusting that the service of the heretic King 
would afford scope for his lifelong opposition to Rome. 

Both in Mainz and Brixen a long-drawn-out struggle 
ended in the vindication of Papal authority, and Pius had 
the satisfaction of knowing that he had not worked in 
vain. Nevertheless, the events of his pontificate had laid 
bare the weakness of the Papal power in Germany. Papal 
censures had ceased to terrify ; clergy and laity alike 
realised that they could be disregarded with impunity. 
Excommunicate princes were no longer outcasts who must 
sue for pardon in order to regain a place in society. They 
regarded it as an act of condescension on their part when 
they consented to receive absolution. Papal exactions 

1 Pius ii to Frederick in, i March 1464 ; Jager, Der Streit, Bd. ii. 
p. 417. 

a Cf . Pastor, iii. pp. 211-2. The Emperor proffered his terms of 
peace on 12 June. Cusa died on n Aug. ; Pius n three days later. 



PIUS II AND EUROPE 235 

were a perpetual source of friction, and the greed of the 
Curia had so impressed itself upon the mind of the German 
nation that every action of the Pope was looked upon as 
a pretext for raising money. To such a man as Heimburg, 
his vision filled with the abuses of the Roman system, 
Pius ii s vindication of Papal power seemed nothing else 
than the triumph of evil. Offensive in his methods and 
unattractive in his personality, Heimburg stood, never 
theless, for an ideal that was worth fighting for. A national 
ecclesiastical system, bred of unselfish efforts for their 
country s weal on the part of the national leaders, might 
have changed the course of German history. Heimburg 
knew that his aims were not unworthy, and a sense of 
aggrieved virtue prevented him from seeing that Germany 
had really nothing to offer in the place of the present 
regime. Pius n s victory was not that of a crafty diplomat 
trampling upon national aspirations. It was the triumph 
of persistency and determined pursuit of an ideal over 
sefishness and inconsistency. The feebleness of the op 
position was the chief cause of such measure of success 
as Pius achieved in Germany. 

The Papacy of Pius n was not, and never could be, the 
mediaeval Papacy. To the rising nations of Europe it was 
less a source of undisputed authority than a foreign power, 
strong enough to be worth propitiating, and capable of 
being made to serve as a useful ally. It was still, however, 
a force to be reckoned with, and this in large measure owing 
to the tireless energy and unfailing courage of the Pope 
himself. Always making the best of a situation, quick to 
seize every point of vantage, slow to press matters to ex 
tremities, Pius did all that could be done under the cir 
cumstances. Thus he left the reputation of the Papacy in 
Europe higher than he found it. He showed that, in spite 
of its abuses, the Apostolic See stood for ideals and aspira 
tions nobler than the common aims of a self-seeking age. 



CHAPTER XI 
THE PAPAL COURT 

r- w -> HE Roman Curia is world-wide, and there is 
room in it for every variety of person and 
1 opinion. We are acquainted with both good and 
evil, and you will find here pride and humility, miserliness 
and extravagance, luxury and asceticism, lust and con 
tinence, the highest virtue and the most shameless vice. 
It is a net cast into the sea filled with all manner of fish. 
Grain and chaff lie together on the threshing-floor, foolish 
ness and wisdom dwell side by side. What wonder if we 
sometimes do noble deeds, which win just praise, and 
sometimes behave in a way that brings censure upon us 
and causes us to be little esteemed ? " x So wrote Cardinal 
Piccolomini in the early days of his acquaintance with the 
Roman Curia, and the description enables us to realise the 
nature of the Court over which Pius n was called to preside. 
It cannot be judged by the standards of a religious com 
munity, for its principal raison d etre was not religious but 
political. As head of the Church, the chief problems with 
which the Pope had to deal were those of statesmanship 
all the complicated questions of law, politics, and finance 
arising out of a world-wide organisation. And the Curia 
was not only the centre of Church government ; it was also 
a bureau of international politics and the capital of the 
first State in Italy. It was distinguished from the Court 
of Milan or Naples chiefly by its cosmopolitan character. 

1 jEneas, Cardinal of Siena, to Sceva de Corte, 2 Dec. 1457 (Ep. 352, 

Opera, p. 829). 

236 



i 




CATHEDRAL (FACADE) 

1 IENZA 



THE PAPAL COURT 237 

Here every side and type of European civilisation mingled. 
The officer of the Curia must be versed in all the niceties 
of European statecraft, and must know how to deal with 
the motley crowd of diplomatists and warriors, scholars 
and princes, which streamed into Rome. " We are not 
called upon to govern heaven and the angels, but the world 
and men," said Pius to his Cardinals, " therefore we must 
choose men for the task." l 

At the beginning of Pius n s reign the College of Cardinals, 
alone, presented varied material to the student of human 
nature. The three chief departments of the Curia the 
Pentitentiary, the Chancery, and the Camera were pre 
sided over by Cardinals Calandrini, Borgia, and Scarampo. 
Theoretically the Grand Penitentiary was the leading 
member of the College ; but Calandrini was a simple, hard 
working man of no great force or ability, and he was over 
shadowed by his more conspicuous colleagues. At the first 
scrutiny of the Conclave he had received as many votes 
as Cardinal Piccolomini, but he sacrificed his own chances 
of the Papacy in order to combine with the other Italian 
Cardinals in the choice of Pius u. Thus it was an act of 
gratitude on the Pope s part to appoint him to the vacant 
office of Penitentiary. The office of Vice-Chancellor was 
held by Rodrigo Borgia, the future Alexander vi, a vigorous 
and pleasure- loving youth of twenty- seven, whose splendid 
entertainments and magnificent establishment were the 
wonder of the hour. " He looks as if he were capable of 
every evil," said the Mantuan chronicler who watched him 
riding to the sessions of the Congress " in great pomp," 
attended by over two hundred horsemen. 2 With Pius n 
he was always on excellent terms, and he threw himself 
with the utmost good nature into any project which the 
Pope might have on hand. Pius in return treated him 
with favour and did not look too closely into his manner 
of life. But there were occasions when remonstrance was 

1 Commentarii, lib. iv. p. 98. 

3 Schivenoglia, Cronaca di Maniova, p. 137, 



238 POPE PIUS II 

imperative. When the Curia was at Siena in the summer 
of 1460, Borgia invited some of the ladies of the city to 
the garden of a certain Giovanni dei Bicchi, and spent 
some five hours dancing and flirting in their company " as 
if he were one of the common herd of secular youths." The 
husbands, fathers, and brothers of the guests were carefully 
excluded, and the whole affair caused much scandal among 
the respectable citizens. Pius n s views on the matter are 
expressed in the admonitory letter which he wrote to 
Borgia from Petrioli, where he was taking baths. 1 " I 
hear," he wrote, " that it has been the common talk of 
Siena ever since, and here at the baths, where there are a 
great number of people, both clerical and lay, you have 
been the subject of much gossip. ... If we were to say 
that this conduct did not displease us, we should err. It 
displeases us more than we can say, for the clerical order 
and our ministry is brought into disrepute. . . . The 
Vicar of Christ who permits such things falls into the same 
contempt. . . . We leave it to you to judge if it becomes 
your station to toy with girls, to pelt them with fruits, to 
hand to her you favour the cup which you have sipped, 
and, neglecting study, to spend the whole day in every 
kind of pleasure, having shut out husbands that you might 
do this with greater freedom. ... If you excuse yourself 
on the ground of youth, you are old enough to understand 
the responsibility of your position. A Cardinal ought to 
be irreproachable, an example of conduct. . . . Let your 
prudence, therefore, consider your dignity, and check this 
vain behaviour. If this occurs again, we shall be obliged 
to show our displeasure, and our rebuke will put you to 
open shame. We have always loved you and regarded 
you as a model of gravity and decorum ; it is for you to 
re-establish our good opinion. Your years, which give 
hope of reformation, lead us to admonish you as a father." 
Luigi Scarampo, Patriarch of Aquileia, who occupied 

1 Pius ii to Cardinal Borgia, Petrioli, n June 1460 (Raynaldus, 1460, 
Nos. 31 and 32), 



THE PAPAL COURT 239 

the post of Chamberlain, was reputed to be the richest man 
in Italy after Cosimo dei Medici. 1 At the instance of 
Calixtus in, he had reluctantly taken charge of a naval 
expedition against the Turk, but he returned home imme 
diately after that Pope s death, thankful to be rid of his 
task, and determined to have nothing more to do with 
Crusades. His anti-crusading policy naturally prejudiced 
him in Pius n s eyes, and the two were never friends. 
Yet his wealth rendered him a factor in the College which 
could not be neglected, and in 1463 he was honoured by 
a Papal visit to his magnificent palace near Albano. Here 
he had acquired the ancient monastery of S. Paolo, and 
had turned it into a sumptuous country house, restoring 
the church and laying out pleasure grounds. Pius, " know 
ing the antiquity of the place, accepted his invitation will 
ingly," and did not fail to record his impressions of the 
visit. 2 Scarampo, he says, " planted gardens where he had 
once found wolves and foxes, and made it a most pleasant 
place. . . . He kept animals of diverse kinds, and among 
them peacocks, Indian fowls, and goats brought from 
Syria, which had very long ears." Scarampo s detested 
rival was Cardinal Barbo, the splendour-loving Venetian 
and connoisseur of jewellery who succeeded Pius n as Pope. 
Thus Pius n s death ended the Chamberlain s political 
career, and he died in March 1465, overcome with rage at 
the election of his enemy. 

Of a very different type from these secularly minded 
ecclesiastics was the German scholar and mystic Nicholas 
of Cusa. At the beginning of Pius n s reign Cusa produced 
a comprehensive scheme of reorganisation which would 
have moulded the Church upon the pattern of a gigantic 
monastery, and applied to the Catholic world at large the 
discipline which failed so conspicuously in his own diocese 

1 Cf. Voigt, iii. 507-8 and 543 seq. Here it is said that no Cardinal 
is mentioned as Chamberlain under Pius u, but Pius himself constantly 
refers to Scarampo as " Camerarius." 

2 Commentarii, lib. xi. p. 306, 



240 POPE PIUS II 

of Brixen. Pius had great belief in Cusa s uprightness and 
ability, and he showed his confidence in him on more than 
one occasion. He went so far as to embody the substance 
of Cusa s scheme in the reforming Bull which was drafted 
in 1460. 1 But, more discerning than his subordinate, 
the Pope knew that the Church could not be reformed 
wholesale. Little improvements in detail, the abolition 
of some peculiar abuse, or the restoration of discipline in a 
single monastery, did not commend themselves to Cusa s 
eager and uncompromising spirit. Such, however, was 
Pius n s way of working, and few can deny its wisdom. 

Another representative of learning in the College was 
the Greek Cardinal, Bessarion, whose presence in Rome was 
almost the sole fruit of the attempted union with the 
Eastern Church under Eugenius iv. His whole heart was 
in the Crusade, but he was one of those fatally ineffective 
persons who only weary the world of the causes which they 
champion. His knowledge of the East gave him a natural 
right to speak on the Turkish question, and Pius brought 
him forward on every possible occasion. Nevertheless, his 
orations failed to evoke enthusiasm. " He showed how 
far superior Latin eloquence is to Greek/ 2 is Pius s com 
ment upon his speech at Mantua. When he preached in 
S. Peter s in honour of the reception of S. Andrew s head, 
he was listened to with respectful attention, but he could 
not make his hearers forget that they were tired after the 
exertions of the morning, and that the hour was late. 3 
Bessarion had been among the most vehement opponents of 
Pius n s election, but the Pope s conduct at Mantua entirely 
altered his opinion. Henceforth he was Pius s warmest 
champion, and he was regarded as the Pope s favourite 
among the Cardinals, with the exception of Carvajal. 

This saintly Spanish Cardinal was the object of Pius n s 

1 Cf. Pastor, iii. pp. 270-6. Cusa s project is preserved in the State 

Library at Munich (Cod. 422). The draft of Pius n s Bull is in the 
Barberini Library, Rome. 

* CommentarM, lib. iii. p. 82, 3 Ibid., lib. viii. p. 204. 



THE PAPAL COURT 241 

deepest admiration. In earlier days, ;neas had always 
shown his best side to Carvajal. He had never attempted 
to flatter him, and had coveted his good opinion. Carvajal 
for his part had regarded ^Eneas with considerable dis 
approval, but he soon realised that a change had taken 
place in the new Pope s character. When he saw Pius n 
struggling manfully to do his duty, and never for one 
moment relinquishing his crusading policy, Carvajal forgot 
the slippery diplomatist of former years, and held out the 
hand of friendship to the man whom he had once despised. 
Early in 1462 Carvajal returned to Rome after six strenuous 
years in Hungary. In the council-chamber and on the 
battle-field he had laboured unremittingly for the defence 
of Christendom, and he had spent his strength in the 
service of the Church. Old before his time, he took up 
his abode in a modest dwelling in Rome, and set an example 
of holy living which excited the wondering admiration of 
his more worldly colleagues. He was never absent from 
Church festivals or meetings of the Consistory. When he 
had reason to disagree with the Pope, or any of his col 
leagues, he never spoke as though he wished to oppose, but 
contented himself with quietly stating his opinion. A hair 
shirt was concealed beneath his simple robes ; he was con 
stant in prayer and fasting ; he spent his money in alms 
giving and in the restoration of churches. The courteous 
and modest bearing of the members of his household re 
flected the saintly conversation of their master. 1 At first 
sight it seems hard to understand the appeal which this 
stern ascetic made to Pius n. Yet even in his youth 
complete sincerity had exercised singular fascination over 
him, and years of experience of an evil world had increased 
his appreciation of so rare a virtue. Moreover, Carvajal 
was no joyless saint. " He never overlooked the joys of 
life," and was as anxious " to entertain men with innocent 
festivity " as to help them in more serious ways. 2 When 
Pius visited Ostia in the spring of 1463, Carvajal begged 

1 Commentarii Jacobi Card. Papiensis, p. 454. 2 Loc. cit. 

16 



242 POPE PIUS II 

him to make an expedition to his own Bishopric of Porto. 
Here among the ruins of the ancient city, fragrant with 
memories of Imperial Rome, the saintly Cardinal received 
his guest " with joyful face and pleasant speech, and talked 
much of Trajan." 1 Thus the two passed a happy day s 
sight-seeing, and did their best to reconstruct the by 
gone ages which they both loved. Pius and Carvajal 
founded their friendship upon work performed together for 
a common cause. They enriched it by pleasures shared 
together, to which each contributed the priceless gift of 
enjoyment. 

Pius had not long been Pope before he began to con 
sider the possibility of adding new members to the Sacred 
College. " A Pope," he says, " is not considered com 
pletely a Pope until he creates Cardinals." 2 Moreover, 
the persistent opposition of the French party made it 
imperative for him to secure stronger political support 
than he possessed among the Cardinals immediately sur 
rounding him. When he announced his intentions, in 
Lent 1460, he found that the College was strongly opposed 
to any fresh creations. You have proposed persons 
whom I would not have in my kitchen or stable," grumbled 
Scarampo; " for my part, I do not see why fresh creations 
are necessary. There are more than enough of us, both 
for service abroad and for counsel at home. Quantity 
cheapens everything. Our revenues do not suffice for us, 
and you wish to add others who will take the bread out of 
our mouths." 3 At length Pius won the consent of the 
College to five new creations. " You will not refuse a 
sixth," he said, " if I name one who is eminently worthy, 
and whom you will all praise." 4 He named Alessandro 
Oliva, General of the Augustinian Order, a man of con 
spicuous piety and considerable learning. Oliva s eleva- 

1 Commentarii, lib. xi. p. 303. Pius n promoted Carvajal to be 
Cardinal Bishop of Porto in 1461. 

3 Commentarii, lib. iv. p. 97. 

8 Cugnoni, p. 199 (omitted from Commentarii, lib. iv. p. 98). 

4 Commentarii, lib. iv. p. 98. 






THE PAPAL COURT 243 

tion surprised every one, and himself most of all. " No 
one thought that a poor monk would be made a Cardinal, 
although he was a gifted preacher of God s word, and a 
holy man." l During the three years of his Cardinalate, he 
practised the religious life as sedulously as if he were in his 
cloister, and his death in August 1463 caused genuine grief 
to the Pope. " Three or four Cardinals," he said, " might 
have died without causing injury to the College, but this 
death inflicted a severe wound upon the Church." 2 The 
other new creations were Angelo Capranica, Bishop of 
Rieti, the brother of ^Eneas s first master ; Bernardo Erolo, 
Bishop of Spoleto, the head of the Apostolic Referendaries ; 
Niccolo Forteguerra, a relation of the Pope s mother ; 
Burchard, Provost and afterwards Archbishop of Salzburg ; 3 
and Francesco Piccolomini, the Pope s young nephew, who 
had just taken his degree at Perugia. The worst that 
could be said of Pius n s selection was that it contained no 
one of any great eminence. Capranica and Erolo proved 
able administrators of the States of the Church; Forte 
guerra did excellent service as the Pope s chief military 
adviser; Piccolomini enjoyed a brief tenure of the Papacy 
as Pius in. Thus Pius could congratulate himself upon 
adding a band of loyal and efficient servants to the Sacred 
College, and he considered that he had done well by his 
country in creating five Italian Cardinals at once. 

Pius s second creation, in Advent 1461, was designed 
chiefly to satisfy the European powers. The ultramontanes 
had been neglected in 1460, and it was imperative to do 
something for France in return for the surrender of the 
Pragmatic Sanction. The Cardinals, however, were even 
more vehemently opposed to fresh creations than they 
had been in the previous year " they shut up their 
ears like asps, and could not be persuaded." 4 Having 

1 Commentarii, lib. iv. p. 98. 

2 Cugnoni, p. 229 (omitted from Commentarii, lib. xii. p. 329). 

3 Burchard s nomination was not published until the creation of the 
other non-Italian Cardinals in 1461. 

4 Cugnoni, p. 214 (omitted .from Commentarii, lib. vii. p. 183). 



244 POPE PIUS II 

failed to move them in Consistory, Pius fell back on the 
expedient of winning over the Cardinals severally. The 
conversations which ensued give an unedifying picture 
of the by-ways of Papal diplomacy. 1 Scarampo and 
Colonna were chiefly anxious to prevent the elevation to 
the purple of Bartolomeo Vitteleschi, Bishop of Corneto. 
Orsini was known to favour his candidature. Pius, there 
fore, first approached Orsini, and begged him, in the 
interests of his friend Vitteleschi, not to oppose his 
wishes. When he remained obdurate, Pius turned to 
Scarampo and Colonna, and gained their consent to his 
other nominations on condition that Vitteleschi was 
excluded. 

Many of the Cardinals objected strongly to Jean 
Jouffroy, Bishop of Arras ; and his own countryman, Alain, 
Cardinal of Avignon, entreated Pius not to admit such a 
firebrand into the Sacred College. There will be no 
peace or quiet in the College from this time forward. He 
will sow discord and nourish faction. . . . You will live 
to repent of your action, and to say to yourself, Would 
that I had believed Alain ! " What you say is only 
too true, Alain," Pius replied. "We know the man, and 
you have painted him as he is. But what can we do ? ... 
Arras is learned, eloquent, and bold, as you say. He is 
our legate at the French Court, and both the King and the 
Duke of Burgundy wish him to be made a Cardinal. We 
have been promised the abolition of the Pragmatic Sanction, 
which is of all things most harmful to the Apostolic See. 
If we refuse the King s prayers, the Pragmatic will con 
tinue to have force in France. If Arras knows that 
he is rejected, he will rage like a dragon, and turn all his 
strength against the Papacy. . . . We confess that it is 
dangerous to include him among the Cardinals, but it is 
still more dangerous to exclude him. Of two evils, we must 
choose the lesser." Alain yielded to the Pope s arguments, 
but the Cardinal of Arras became, as he foretold, a 
1 Cugnoni, pp. 214-8. 



THE PAPAL COURT 245 

perpetual source of annoyance to Pius n. He thwarted 
his projects in every possible way, more especially with 
regard to the Crusade, and he scandalised Rome by his 
vicious habits. At last, in the autumn of 1463, he left 
for France, and the whole Curia rejoiced at his departure. 1 
With Nicholas of Cusa, Pius began by adopting the 
methods of flattery, talking to him confidentially about 
the difficulties of the situation, and explaining to him 
the absolute necessity of propitiating the French King. 
" There is no one in whom we have greater confidence than 
you, brother ; if every one else fails us, we know that you 
will remain true. . . . You, who love us, will aid us in 
this matter." But Cusa s will could not be bent by 
considerations of expediency, and he met Pius s advances 
by a furious outburst against Pope and Curia. " I have 
long thought that you hated me, O Pope," he replied; 
" now I am certain of it, for you have asked of me that 
which I cannot perform without disgrace. You intend 
to make new Cardinals at your own pleasure, without 
urgent cause, in defiance of the oath which you swore in 
the Conclave, both before and after your election, that 
you would not create Cardinals save with the consent of 
the majority of the College, and in accordance with the 
Constance decrees. And you wish to make me an accom 
plice of your sin. . . . If you can bear the truth, I will 
tell you that I am ill-pleased with everything that goes 
on in the Curia. It is all corrupt. No one does his work 
properly. Neither you nor the Cardinals care for the 
welfare of the Church. What observance is there of the 
canons ? What reverence for the law ? What zeal in 
the practice of religion ? Ambition and avarice are para 
mount. If I speak of reform, I am laughed at. I cannot 
tolerate these proceedings. Let me go into the wilderness 
and live my own life." So saying, the unhappy Cardinal 
burst into tears. He was treated to a severe scolding 
from the Pope, who proved to him in detail that no oath 

1 Cf. Cugnoni, pp. 230-3, and Commentarii, lib. xii. p. 343. 



246 POPE PIUS II 

was violated and no decree set aside by treating separately 
with the Cardinals. It was presumption on Cusa s part 
to censure the Pope s proceedings; and as for his com 
plaint that no one did their duty, if he deserted the Curia 
at this juncture, he would be the worst offender. Cusa 
left the Pope s presence speechless and ashamed. " After 
this," observes Pius complacently, " he became gentler, 
and abandoned much of his foolish rigidity, showing that 
the Pope s reproofs were not in vain." The scene is an 
illuminating commentary upon the character of the two 
persons concerned. For Cusa there was no such word 
as compromise ; he knew the letter of the law, and was 
determined to enforce it. Pius n s diplomatic manoeuvres 
appeared to him in the light of a criminal surrender to 
the methods of the wicked world. Yet in the tangled 
skein of fifteenth- century politics, what could a poor 
Pope do but compromise ? Pius was no warrior-saint, 
but a man of the world, with wide experience and no 
illusions, who was doing his utmost to steer the bark 
of S. Peter in the right course. What he asked of Cusa 
was the recognition that their ultimate aims were the 
same. If he were convinced of his sincerity, Pius thought, 
surely he could accept his methods as the outcome of 
stern necessity. 

When the Consistory met again, no one opposed the 
Pope s wishes, and he named six persons whom he 
proposed to raise to the purple. The three new ultra- 
montanes were the Bishop of Arras, Prince Louis d Albret, 
and the Spaniard, Don Jayme de Cordova. Francesco 
Gonzaga, the son of the Marquis of Mantua, was also of 
the nature of a " Crown " Cardinal. His admission to 
the College caused great rejoicing at the Mantuan Court, 
and both Poliziano s verse and Mantegna s painting 
helped to celebrate the occasion. The new Cardinal was 
only seventeen, but he looked older than his age, and 
" he was a grey-beard in gravity and wisdom." l Mean- 

1 Commentarii, lib. vii. p. 184. 



THE PAPAL COURT 247 

while the Pope took the opportunity to add two of his 
own friends to the list. Bartolomeo Roverella, Archbishop 
of Ravenna, was a friend of ^Eneas s secretarial days, and 
had recently distinguished himself as Papal Legate in 
the Neapolitan war. Jacopo Ammanati, Bishop of Pavia, 
was Pius ii s most faithful friend and disciple. " We 
are not Cardinals but traitors," grumbled Cardinal Tebaldo, 
when he saw that the Pope s nominations would be 
accepted. " The dignity of the office is destroyed. If 
the Pope commands us to add three hundred persons to 
our numbers, I shall not oppose him." 1 Pius had won 
the day. He had satisfied the European powers, and 
had strengthened his own party in the College. But 
the means by which he gained his end show that a good 
deal of the old ^Eneas had survived his elevation to the 
Papacy. 

When the humanist Pope ascended the throne of S. 
Peter, the scholars of Italy hailed his election as the 
dawn of a golden age. " In the eyes of all distinguished 
and cultured men, you have arisen like a sun, dispersing 
the mists of darkness, " 2 wrote Filelf o ; and he and many 
another humanist looked forward to a return of the happy 
days of Nicholas v. But they were sadly disillusioned. 
Pius was ready to recognise merit, but he knew too much 
of the under-world of literary adventurers to care for 
their flatteries. His critical taste made him a severe 
judge of the mediocre productions of professional humanists, 
and he preferred that his literary reputation should rest 
upon his own writings rather than upon his patronage 
of other scholars. The crowd of copyists, collectors, 
translators, and versifiers did not reappear in Rome. 
Instead, there was a Pope who composed his own Bulls, 
and who was surrounded by a select company of kin 
dred spirits, friends and companions rather than Court 

1 Cugnoni, p. 218. 

2 F. Filelfo to Pius n, i Nov. 1458. Cf. Voigt, iii. pp. 606-7, a,nd 
Rosmini, Vita di Filelfo, vol. ii. p. 104. 



248 POPE PIUS II 

humanists. The few eminent scholars of the day, how 
ever, did not go unrewarded. Lodrisio Crivelli and 
Bartolomeo Platina both held posts in the Curia, and the 
learned historian Flavio Biondo found in Pius an appre 
ciative patron. The Pope liked to have Biondo with him 
upon his expeditions, in order that the old antiquarian 
might act as his guide to the classical remains. His book 
on Roman antiquities, Roma Triumphans, was dedicated 
to Pius n, and his great historical work, the Decades, was 
" imbellished and corrected " by the Pope himself. 1 
" Biondo s eloquence/ say Pius, "was far removed from 
that of the ancients, and he did not revise his writings 
carefully enough ; he thought less of the truth of what 
he wrote than of the amount. . . . But," he adds, " some 
people might say the same of us, for although we write 
what is true, nevertheless ours is rough, ill-digested 
history. Perchance another may bring our researches 
and those of Biondo to light, and may thus reap the fruit 
of our labour." 2 

Francesco Filelfo was almost the sole survivor of the 
great generation of humanists, and to him Pius showed 
rather cold courtesy. He awarded him a pension of two 
hundred ducats a year, but when Filelfo proposed to come 
and settle in Rome, the Pope advised him to enjoy his 
pension in Milan. 3 In spite of the rebuff, Filelfo and his 
tw sons soon made their appearance at the Curia, bent 
upon making their fortunes at the Pope s expense. Filelfo 
first endeavoured to approach Pius through Amman ati, 
sending him part of the Sforziade for criticism, and making 
flattering remarks that he hoped would be handed on to 
the Pope. But Pius refused to be drawn into a literary 
correspondence. In his younger days he delighted in a 
lengthy discussion upon a point of scholarship, and welcomed 

1 Pius, Pont. Max., Abbreviationem Flavii Blondii (Opera, pp. 
144-281). 

2 Commentarii, lib. xi. p. 310. 

3 Ammanati to Filelfo, Jacobi Card. Pap. Epistolae, No. 25, p. 467. 



THE PAPAL COURT 249 

any subject that afforded opportunity for elegant writing. 
Now, however, he was too old and too much occupied for 
dilettante composition. When Filelfo pointed out a mistake 
of grammar in one of his poems, he thanked him for his 
correction, and said that he feared it would be only too 
easy for the idle to find similar errors in the writings of a 
busy man like himself. 1 Ere long Filelfo exchanged flattery 
for abuse. He made an anonymous attack upon Pius during 
his lifetime, and did his best to blacken his memory after 
death. When the news of the Pope s death reached him, 
he, who had likened his accession to the sunrise, called upon 
the poets and Muses to rejoice that God had taken Pius 
from their midst. 2 

Pius n s small circle of intimates, the men whom he 
chose as the companions of his daily life, reflect two notable 
features of his character his love of home and his un- 
conventionality. The two private secretaries who wrote 
at his dictation and helped him with his literary work 
were both Sienese. One was his cousin, Goro Lolli, the 
friend and comrade of his student days ; the other, Agostino 
dei Patrizzi, was also a University friend. Relations and 
fellow-citizens of the Pope held all the chief posts in the 
Curia, and Pius had no difficulty in convincing himself that 
they were chosen entirely upon their merits. To be a 
Sienese was in itself a title to reward in his eyes, and the 
greatest honour which he could confer upon a friend was 
to obtain for him the citizenship of Siena. Two of his 
closest companions, however, were neither Sienese nor 
friends of his youth. Jacopo Ammanati s career was not 
unlike Pius n s. He came to Rome as a struggling scholar 

1 Jacobi Card. Papiensis, Ep. 25. 

2 Gmtulatio de morte Pii II (Rosmini, Vita di Filelfo, vol. ii. p. 320) 

" Gaudeat orator, Musae gaudete Latinae ; 
Sustulit e medio quod Deus ipse Pium. 
Ut bene consuluit doctis Deus omnibus aeque, 
Quos Pius in cunctos se tulit usque gravem. 
Nunc sperare licet. Nobis deus optime Quintum 
Reddito Nicoleon, Eugeniumve patrem." 



250 POPE PIUS II 

in the days of Nicholas v, and began his career, as 
before him, in the service of Cardinal Capranica. The 
legend goes that he threw up his post because the austere 
Capranica tore up his literary compositions in order to 
teach him humility. 1 Under Calixtus in he became an 
Apostolic secretary, and Pius confirmed him in his office 
on the very day of his own election. From henceforth 
Ammanati enjoyed the Pope s special favour. He was 
made Bishop of Pavia in 1460, a Cardinal in 1461, and he 
was adopted into the Piccolomini family. Before every 
thing a humanist, his relation to Pius n was that of a literary 
disciple. His letters and Commentaries are a faithful 
imitation of those of Pius n, and he carried on the Pope s 
great work for the five years which succeeded his death. 
Pius, says Ammanati s biographer, loved him not only for 
his literary talents, but for his sound judgment and stainless 
honesty. 2 He lived in high favour at the Papal Court, 
free from all taint of corruption, and he left it a poor man. 3 
He shared the Pope s love of country life and was fond of 
hunting. Although somewhat lacking in force, he was 
doubtless a sympathetic companion. His affection for 
Pius ii was the ruling motive of his life. 

The Pope s other favourite, the jovial epigrammatist, 
Giovanni Campano, was a man of very different character. 
He began life as a shepherd boy, and raised himself by his 
own efforts to the position of a University lecturer at 
Perugia. He first came to the Curia in 1459, as a member 
of the Perugian embassy of congratulation to Pius n, and 
Ammanati introduced him to the Pope s notice. The 
portrait which he gives of himself shows that he owed 
nothing to his appearance. Short, stout, and awkward, 
with shaggy eyebrows and spreading nostrils, he was at a 
loss to know with what wild beast to compare himself. 4 

1 Vespasiano, Card. Domenico Capranica, 3. 

2 Jacobus Volaterranus, Preface to Com. Card. Papiensis, p. 352. 

3 Voigt, iii. p. 540. 

4 Campanus, Opera (Rome, 1595) ; Epistolae, lib. iii., " Dulciboni suo." 



THE PAPAL COURT 251 

But he had a keen wit and a picturesque, forcible style, 
and he had proved his powers as an historian by a life of 
the condottiere Braccio. No one could be less like the 
typical Court poet than this burly peasant, yet such was 
his virtual office at the Curia. He produced epigrams and 
witticisms on every occasion, and Pius showed his apprecia 
tion of them by quoting them largely in the Commentaries. 
When Campano was made a Bishop, the honour was not 
all joy to him. His cassock impeded his movements, and 
Ammanati told him that it was not suitable for a Bishop 
to make puns. He was full of affectionate gratitude 
towards Pius n. " He has made you great," he wrote to 
Ammanati, " and has raised me above mediocrity. There 
fore we ought above all things to add to his pleasure and 
reputation." l 

Campano s Life of Pius n is full of little intimate details 
which would only be known to one who was constantly 
with him. 2 He, Ammanati, and Goro Lolli were the 
Pope s comrades rather than his servants. With them 
Pius could lay aside his dignity, and jest and gossip in the 
friendly, informal way that had won him so many friends 
in the past. Ammanati s description of a day s holiday 
from Mantua, at the time of the Congress, gives a charming 
picture of Pius n s life in the society of these chosen com 
panions. 3 " While he was at Mantua Pius fell dangerously 
ill, and when he began to recover, he craved for a little 
diversion in order to help him regain strength. He decided 
to pay a few days visit to a monastery called degli Angeli,* 
three miles distant from Mantua ; and in order to make the 
journey more agreeable, he travelled by way of the Mincio. 
The Pope was accustomed to turn to us when he was in 

1 Campano to Ammanati (Card. Pap., Ep. 30, p. 472). 
8 Given in the Basel edition of Pius n s works. 

3 Jacopo Ammanati to Francesco Piccolomini. The party included 
Lorenzo Roverella, the brother of the Archbishop, and Agapito di Cenci 
del Rustici, a Roman poet of some repute (Jac. Card. Pap., Ep. 49, 
p. 498). 

4 The famous sanctuary of S. Maria delle Grazie, 



252 POPE PIUS II 

need of relaxation, and so we were commanded to embark 
upon the same boat as himself." The party set out in a 
holiday mood, and Goro Lolli brought with him some 
congratulatory verses dedicated to Pius, which he had not 
yet had an opportunity of hearing. " We thought that 
this was a good time to read them, as they would amuse 
the Pope on his holiday ; for he enjoyed having poetry 
read aloud to him during his leisure hours." Ere long the 
reading inspired the present company to impromptu 
rhyming, and light verses were bandied from mouth to 
mouth. Pius laughed heartily at the witticisms of his 
friends, and soon contributed his share to the entertainment. 
It was remarked that all the poets contrived to ask for 
something in their verses, and Campano delighted the 
party by a poem in which he said that gifts ought not to 
be given to those who asked, but to those who did not ask, 
at the same time hinting that he himself was among the 
deserving. Pius made an appropriate repartee, and then 
produced the following epigram : 

" Discite pro numeris numeros sperare poetae, 
Mutare est animus carmina non emere." L 

Unfortunately, this somewhat incautious jest survived, and 
excited the anger of every humanist who heard it. It 
was quoted as a proof of the Pope s contempt for poetry 
and of his determination to do nothing for the class to which 
he had once belonged. In defence of his master, Ammanati 
told the story of the epigram s origin, and showed that " it 
was not premeditated, nor composed in dispraise of poets, 
but improvised at the moment for the entertainment of 
the company." It was a gay, warm-hearted circle of 
friends that surrounded this most unconventional of 
Popes, and when Pius n was laid in his grave it seemed to 
them as if all the colour were gone out of life. Ammanati, 

1 " Take poets for your verses, verse again 

My purpose is to mend, not buy your strain." 

(Creighton s translation, History of the Papacy, vol. iii. p. 350.) 



THE PAPAL COURT 253 

Campano, Goro Lolli, and Cardinal Piccolomini wrote 
constantly to each other of the happy days that were 
over. To live again in the memories of " our Pius " became 
the chief pleasure of their existence. 

It is not easy to associate the genial hero of Ammanati s 
reminiscences with the spiritual suzerainty of the Church 
or the guardianship of faith and morals. But Pius was 
never primarily an ecclesiastical personage. He was a 
man of letters who was also a devout Catholic, and as his 
office required him to fulfil high ecclesiastical functions, 
he did so to the best of his ability. Nevertheless, the history 
of his Pontificate shows that the practical and emotional 
side of the Catholic faith appealed to him more than its 
intellectual aspect. His was a religion of the heart and the 
eye rather than of the intelligence. Even in his most 
unregenerate days he was content to accept the Creed of 
the Church without criticism, and he never had the 
faintest sympathy with heresy. In the first year of his 
Pontificate, he issued a Bull condemning Reginald Pecock, 
the heretical Bishop of Chichester, and ordering his writings 
to be burned. 1 His endeavours to repress incipient heresy 
in France and Italy afford another example of his stern 
orthodoxy. 2 He was curiously uninterested in theological 
speculation. In 1462 he endeavoured to settle a quarrel 
which raged between Dominicans and Franciscans by 
summoning both sides to a disputation in Rome. The 
account which he gives of the proceedings in the Com 
mentaries is clear proof of his indifference with regard to 
the point at issue. 3 

On Easter Day 1462, Fra Giacomo della Marca, a pro 
minent Franciscan, maintained in the course of his sermon 
at Brescia that " the Blood of Christ shed on the ground 
during the Passion was not an object of worship, since it 
was separated from the Divine Person." This was an old 

1 Raynaldus, 1459, No. 29. 

3 Cf. Voigt, vol. iii. pp. 580-3, and Pastor, vol. iii. p. 286. 

3 Commentarii, lib. xi. pp. 278-92. 



254 POPE PIUS II 

subject of dispute, and the Dominicans at once took up the 
challenge. To Pius it seemed that Fra Giacomo had made 
a great mistake in raising the question. He fell, said the 
Pope, into " a common error of popular preachers," and 
" for the sake of showing his own learning, touched upon 
many matters which he would have done better to leave 
alone." 1 But in the interests of peace it was necessary 
to judge between the disputants, and for three days the 
matter was argued in the Pope s presence. Afterwards 
the subject was discussed privately among the Cardinals, 
of whom the majority sided with the Dominicans. " Pius 
agreed with the majority, but it did not seem to him a 
suitable time to publish his decision, lest the numbers of 
Minorites employed in preaching against the Turk should 
be offended." So the decision was postponed, to the 
satisfaction of all parties concerned. The Dominicans 
realised that the Pope was on their side, and the Franciscans 
were relieved that judgment had not been given against 
them. As for Pius, he was content to have ended a quarrel 
which prevented the two great Mendicant Orders from 
doing more practical work. 

As became a disciple of S. Bernardino, Pius was an 
enthusiastic patron of the Observantists, the reformed 
branch of the Franciscan Order. Both at Tivoli and at 
Sarzana the Conventual Franciscans were ordered to make 
way for the Observantists, and the privileges granted to 
the latter by Eugenius iv were revived. The reform of 
monastic discipline, in general, appealed to the Pope s 
practical mind, and it was a matter to which he gave great 
attention. He caused a Chapter of the Dominican Order 
to be held at Siena to discuss the question of reform, and 
on finding that the chief cause of abuse was the corrupt 
General, Martial Auribelle, he deposed him from his office. 2 
The Carmelites of Brescia, the Humiliati of Venice, and the 
convents of the Order of Vallombrosa, all owed some 

1 Commentarii, lib. xii. p. 278. 

2 Cugnoni, p. 224 (omitted from Commentarii, lib. x. p. 262). 



THE PAPAL COURT 255 

measure of reform to Pius n, and model communities, such 
as that of the Benedictines of S. Justina at Padua, were 
singled out for favour. 1 

Thus the humanist Pope proved himself a zealous 
practical reformer, and he had an artist s love of ritual. 
No one can read the description of Roman ceremonial 
which he wrote during his Cardinalate without realising 
how deeply the ordered beauty of Catholic worship im 
pressed itself upon his soul. " If you once saw the Pope 
celebrating Mass, or assisting at the Divine Office, you 
would confess that there is no order, or pomp, or splendour 
save with the Roman Pontiff. You would see the Pope 
sitting high upon his throne, the Cardinals on his right, and 
the great prelates on his left. Bishops, Abbots, Proto- 
notaries, ambassadors, all have their place. Here are the 
Auditors, there the Clerks of the Camera ; here the Procu 
rators, there the Subdeacons and Acolytes. Below them 
are the multitude. Surely you would recognise that the 
Papal Court resembles the celestial hierarchy, where all is 
fair to the eye, and all is done according to rule and law." 2 

The Sacraments and ceremonies of the Church were, in 
truth, the centre of Pius n s religious life. His reign is 
famous for some of the most splendid ecclesiastical cere 
monies of the Renaissance, and perhaps the most glorious 
of all was the Festival of Corpus Christi, as celebrated 
by the Pope and Cardinals at Viterbo in 1462. 3 In an 
earlier passage of the Commentaries, Pius tells the story 
of the origin of this feast, which had always been peculiarly 
dear to him. " A certain priest of Bolsena doubted the 
presence of the divine and human nature of Christ our 
Saviour in the Sacrament of the altar. One day, while he 
was celebrating Mass, his faith was compelled by the sight 
of the Bleeding Host before him, and by the sign of the 
miraculous Blood upon the corporal in which it lay. This 

1 Cf. Pastor, vol. iii. pp. 277-80. 

2 Germania, p. 1080 (Opera). 

3 Commentarii, lib. viii. pp. 208-11. 



256 POPE PIUS II 

miracle was recognised and approved by Pope Urban iv 
(1263), and the Festival of the Most Blessed Body of Christ 
was instituted. It has since been celebrated each year 
with the greatest devotion and honour throughout the 
whole Christian world." 1 In 1462, Pius determined to 
observe the festival with unwonted splendour. The gravest 
political troubles of his reign were over. He was about to 
spend a happy summer s holiday in his beloved Tuscany, 
and, as he tarried at Viterbo in the bright May weather, 
everything seemed to combine in the call to rejoice. 

The Pope was staying in the Rocca, at the northern end 
of the town, near the Church of S. Francesco, and from 
here to the Cathedral the way was one continuous pageant. 
Rich tapestries of purple and cloth of gold adorned the 
houses, triumphal arches of flowering broom, myrtle, and 
laurel spanned the streets. All the trade-guilds of Viterbo 
combined with the members of the Curia in the work of 
decoration. 2 The First Vespers of the Festival were cele 
brated in a temporary building erected near the Rocca. 
" The sun was still high, and its rays penetrated through 
the rainbow-hued hangings. . . . The choir sang as sweetly 
as angels ; the lights were arranged with admirable skill 
to imitate the starry heaven ; the voices blended with 
the instruments in sweetest harmony ; the whole scene 
resembled Paradise." Early the next morning a great 
procession started for the Cathedral. The Pope himself 
bore the Host, and he was supported by " seventeen 
Cardinals, twenty-two Bishops, and many other digni 
taries." First on the route came the houses decorated 
with the magnificent Arras tapestries of the French 
Cardinals. Near them was a representation of the Last 
Supper and the Institution of the Eucharist, prepared by 
Cardinal Torquemada. By the principal group he had 
placed a figure of S. Thomas Aquinas, " as if he were order 
ing the due observance of the sacred rite." Carvajal s 

1 Commentavii, lib. iv. p. in. 

2 Niccola della Tuccia, Cronaca di Viterbo, pp. 84-7. 



THE PAPAL COURT 257 

contribution was a great dragon surrounded by horrible 
demons, and as the Pope passed by S. Michael appeared in 
full armour, dispersed the demons, and cut off the dragon s 
head. As usual, the decorations of Cardinal Borgia sur 
passed all others in splendour and ingenuity. When the 
Pope approached Borgia s precincts a large tent covered 
with purple hangings barred the way, and two boys dressed 
as angels advanced and sang, " Lift up your heads, O ye 
gates, and King Pius will come in." But five kings and a 
band of soldiers held the entrance. " Who is King Pius ? " 
they cried. " The angels, in honour of the Sacrament which 
he carried, answered, He is the Lord, strong and mighty. 
Immediately the barriers were thrown down, the sound of 
pipes and organs was heard, and the whole company knelt 
before the Pope singing songs of welcome. Inside the tent 
was a fountain flowing with water and wine, symbolising 
the Blessed Sacrament, besides many other historical 
and allegorical figures, " which arrested the gaze not only 
of the ignorant multitude, but of cultivated men." Before 
the Palazzo del Commune, Cardinal Forteguerra had pre 
pared an elaborate tableau of the Resurrection. The Holy 
Sepulchre stood in the middle of the Piazza with the soldiers 
sleeping by it, and near them the watching angels, " who 
would not suffer the bride-chamber of the heavenly Spouse 
to be violated." When the Pope drew near, " suddenly a 
beautiful boy, let down by a rope, descended like an angel 
from heaven and proclaimed the approaching Resurrec 
tion." A breathless silence followed, which was broken by 
the sound of thunder, and then " he who played the part of 
the Saviour drew all eyes upon himself." With the banner 
of the Cross in his hand, and a shining diadem on his head, 
he announced in Italian verse that the salvation of the 
world had been won. 

Other lesser marvels followed, until at length the 
Pope reached the Cathedral, where High Mass was 
celebrated by Cardinal Barbo. When the Pope came out 
on to the Piazza to bless the people after Mass, a repre- 



258 POPE PIUS II 

sentation of the Assumption of the Virgin took place 
under Cardinal de Mila s auspices. On the housetops 
was seen the Court of heaven, with God sitting in glory 
amid stars and choirs of angels. Below, in the Piazza, 
lay the Virgin s tomb, from whence a lovely maiden rose 
up to heaven, supported by angelic hands and dropping 
her girdle as she went. " Her Son came to meet her, 
and kissed His Mother upon her forehead. He presented 
her to the Eternal Father, and seated her upon His right 
hand. Then the legions of celestial spirits sang and 
exulted and sounded instruments of music. All heaven 
rejoiced, and so the ceremonies closed." After this the 
Pope and several of the Cardinals dined with Cardinal de 
Mila in the adjacent palace, where " pleasant conversation 
rendered the hours short." Then came a short interval 
for repose, before Vespers and the return along the pro 
cessional route. It was a day that lived long in the annals 
of the city, and no one entered more thoroughly into 
the spirit of the festival than did the Pope himself. " Who 
ever visited Viterbo that day," he concludes, " and saw 
these wonders, must have thought that he had come not 
to the abode of men but to the realms above, and that 
he had seen the vision of the celestial city alive and in 
the flesh." l 

1 Cf . for the whole ceremony, Commentarii, lib. viii. pp. 208-11, and 
Niccola della Tuccia, pp. 84-7. 



CHAPTER XII 
PIENZA AND THE PICCOLOMINI 

"1[ "IT THEN Pius n became Pope nothing gave him 
\ /% / more genuine pleasure than the thought that his 
V V greatness would add to the prosperity and prestige 
of Siena. " The first care of his pontificate was to serve 
his country. He went to Siena, and fed his starving people 
with apostolic nourishment. He filled the city and con- 
tado with plenty. He established peace in the common 
wealth. He allayed fear, both of internal and external 
foes." l This description of the benefits which Pius con 
ferred upon his native city is perhaps more true of his 
intentions than of his achievements. He meant all that 
was good by Siena, but unfortunately he differed from the 
majority of his fellow-citizens with regard to the means by 
which the internal welfare of the Republic should be pro 
moted. His ideal for the good government of Siena was a 
constitution in which all the five Monti or factions had 
their share. His first object was to restore his own Monte 
dei Gentiluomini to power, but he also pleaded for the 
enfranchisement of the Dodicini, a faction which included 
many rich merchant families, and which was at that time 
wholly deprived of the rights of citizenship. 2 He was 
deeply impressed by the evils attending on a city divided 
against itself. The exiles without the city striving to 
return, and their friends and relations within, secretly sup 
porting them, undermined the stability of the State. If 

1 Jacobi Card. Pap., Ep. 71, p. 517. 

2 Cf. Commentarii, lib. iv. p. 101. 



259 



260 POPE PIUS II 

the Pope could have had his way, the very names of the 
rival factions would have been abolished, and instead of 
five warring Monti he would have had one people. " The 
guardian of cities is concord," he pleaded, " and concord 
will protect this city, and unite you for ever, if only justice, 
the mother and queen of virtues, is permitted to reign over 
you." ! 

The wisdom of Pius n s ideals are manifest, but they 
represented a conception of government altogether foreign 
to the average citizen of Siena. " What could be more 
foolish than to admit to membership in the State those 
who would promptly eject you from it ? " 2 asked a 
member of the party in power when Pius n s proposals 
were debated in the Council. Any idea of broadening the 
basis of government was abhorrent to the enfranchised 
classes. Their less fortunate neighbours could only be 
regarded as enemies, and their object was to depress them 
by taxation and proscription in order to postpone the evil 
day when the political situation would be reversed, when 
the exiles would return to power, and at once proceed to 
exclude their late oppressors from a share in the govern 
ment. The citizens of Siena were determined not to 
enfranchise the nobles, and Pius n was equally determined 
to have his own way. Thus from first to last the political 
contest embittered the relations between our hero and his 
" sweet city." It is true that in the burst of enthusiasm 
which followed the news of the election of a Sienese Pope, 
the Piccolomini were at once admitted to full political 
power. 3 But this was a measure which commended itself 
to public opinion in Siena, whereas the enfranchisement 
of the Gentiluomini as a class evoked the strongest opposi 
tion. When Pius stayed in Siena on his way to Mantua in 
1459, the citizens consented to discuss the constitutional 
question with him, although his requests seemed to them 

1 Commentarii, lib. ii. p. 45. 2 Ibid., lib. viii. p. 215. 

3 Cf. Malavolti, De fatti e guerre de Sanesi, p. 61, and Thomasius, 
Hist. Sen., p. 57. 



PIENZA AND THE PICCOLOMINI 261 

" difficult to refuse, and still more difficult to grant." * A 
compromise was finally arrived at by which the Gentiluo- 
mini were admitted to all the honours of citizenship, and 
to a fraction of political power. This decision was hailed 
with general thanksgiving, and nobles and people embraced 
one another rapturously in the streets. One and all turned 
their backs upon a trying controversy, and gave them 
selves up to rejoicing in the possession of a Sienese Pope, 
present among them in the flesh. Meanwhile Pius n doled 
out favours to his fellow-citizens with a generous hand. 
On Sunday in Mid-Lent, he presented to the Prior of the 
Republic the golden rose, which is still preserved in the 
Opera del Duomo at Siena. The fortress of Radicofani, 
hitherto a bone of contention between Siena and Orvieto, 
was granted in perpetuity to the Republic. Siena was 
raised to the dignity of an archbishopric, and proceedings 
were set on foot for the canonisation of Caterina Benincasa, 
henceforth to be revered as S. Catherine of Siena. 2 

It was a happy turn of fortune that enabled one of 
Siena s two most famous children to be the means of doing 
honour to the other. S. Catherine, the ascetic visionary 
and political reformer, belongs to a different world from 
that of the humanist Pope. But wide as is the gulf which 
separates them, they are united both by their services to 
the Papacy and by their love of Siena. Pius n s heart 
glowed with patriotic pride when, two years later, the 
formalities were concluded, and he announced to the multi 
tude assembled in S. Peter s that " Catherine s name was 
written upon the roll of the Saints." 3 

Meanwhile the quarrel between the Pope and the 
Republic had broken out afresh. The citizens of Siena 
regarded the compromise of 1459 as the utmost limit of 
their concessions to the nobility, while Pius looked upon it 

1 Commentarii, lib. ii. p. 46. 

2 Decrees ordering the Process of Canonisation are to be found at 
Siena, dated 19 May 1459. The Canonisation was finally announced on 
29 June 1461. Cf. Pastor, iii. pp. 290-3. 

3 Commentarii, lib. v. p. 135. 



262 POPE PIUS II 

as a prelude to the grant of more extensive privileges. Thus 
the intercourse between them consisted mainly in renewed 
pressure from the Pope, and repeated attempts to evade 
his requests on the part of the Sienese. At last the citizens 
persuaded themselves that Pius IT S interference was be 
coming a serious menace to the Republic. The nobles, 
they insisted, were encouraged by his support to conspire 
against the government, and the citizens lived in hourly 
dread of an armed attack. Those of the nobility who 
remained within the city were threatened with imprison 
ment or exile if the present state of unrest continued. In 
despair, they addressed a petition to the Pope, begging him 
to desist from further efforts on their behalf. 1 This was in 
the summer of 1462, and Pius showed his displeasure with 
the Republic by not once entering Siena throughout the 
course of a long summer holiday in Tuscany. From hence 
forth he abandoned his attempts at political reform. His 
last visit to Siena, only a few months before his death, 
was unspoiled by controversy. Nevertheless, the citizens 
continued to look upon the nobles with suspicion, and 
before Pius was cold in his grave the modicum of political 
power granted to the Gentiluomini had been taken away. 
" It was indeed an unworthy thing," writes a Sienese 
chronicler, " that the measures brought about by so great 
a Pope, and by one who had deserved so well of his 
city, should be rescinded almost immediately after his 
death." 2 

Thwarted in his designs for Siena, Pius sought consola 
tion in the advancement of the Piccolomini and in the 
creation of Pienza. Silvio and Vittoria Piccolomini had 
not lived to see their son s elevation to the Papacy. At 
the time of Pius s accession his father had been dead eight 
years, and his body lay in the little Church of S. Francesco 
at Corsignano. After four years of widowhood, Vittoria 
died in Siena, and was buried by the Franciscans of that 

1 Commentarii, lib. viii. pp. 214-5. 

2 F. Thomasius, Hist. Sen., p. 62. 



PIENZA AND THE PICCOLOMINI 263 

city. Pius now caused a beautiful marble tomb to be 
erected in the Church of S. Francesco in Siena, and thither 
the remains of Silvio Piccolomini were brought to rest 
beside those of his wife. 1 The tomb has since been de 
stroyed by fire, but the medallions of Silvio and Vittoria, 
with a scroll bearing the inscription which Pius n himself 
composed, are still to be seen in the Church. 2 

The Pope s nearest living relations were his two sisters, 
Laudomia and Caterina, both of whom had made respectable 
but by no means brilliant marriages. They and their 
children assumed the name of Piccolomini, and to his 
nephews and nieces Pius looked to sustain the honour of 
his family. Caterina was married to a certain Bartolomeo 
Guglielmi, whom Pius made Prefect of Spoleto, and here 
the Pope visited his sister on his way to Mantua in 1459. 
She had an only daughter, Antonia, who in her turn married 
and had children. In 1462, Antonia and Caterina came to 
see Pius at Todi, bringing with them Antonia s baby-boy, 
a handsome, intelligent child, who " gave no small delight 
to the Pope." " He had not yet reached his twentieth 
month," said the proud uncle, " but he imitated everything 
which he saw, and gave many signs of future wisdom. 3 
The child was called Silvio at the Pope s desire. He 
became the ancestor of the famous Marshal Ottavio 
Piccolomini, who played so prominent a part in the Thirty 
Years War. Laudomia was married to Nanni Todeschini, 
and by him had four sons and one daughter, Montanina. 
Of the Pope s four nephews, Antonio, Giacomo, and Andrea 
were destined for a secular, and Francesco for an ecclesiastical 
career. Francesco was a studious, well-conducted youth, 
and when ^Eneas was Bishop of Siena he saw sufficient 
intellectual promise in his nephew to think it worth while 

1 Commentarii, lib. ii. p. 47. 

" Silvius hie jaceo, conjux Vittoria mecum est 

Filius hoc clausit marmore. Papa Pius." 
Cf. Commentarii, lib. ii. p. 47. 

3 Ibid., lib. x. p. 272. The fine palace in Siena now occupied by the 
Banca d ltalia was built as the Pope s gift to Caterina. 



264 POPE PIUS II 

sending him to the University of Perugia. Money was 
always scanty in the Piccolomini family, and Francesco, 
like ^neas before him, economised his expenses by lodging 
with relations. But, unlike ^Eneas, his future was ready 
made for him from the moment of taking his degree. In 
January 1460, at the age of twenty-one, he became Arch 
bishop of Siena, and two months later he received a Cardinal s 
hat. He proved himself a devoted nephew, and filled with 
credit the various high offices to which he was called. 
Yet he could not rise above his destiny, and he remained 
to the last the nephew of Pius n, a pale reflection of his 
brilliant uncle. His chief claim to the remembrance of 
posterity is as the founder of the Piccolomini Library in 
the Cathedral at Siena. The original purpose of the 
building was to hold the works of Pius n and his treasured 
collection of books. It was begun about the year 1492, 
and decorated on a comparatively modest scale. Ten 
years later, Cardinal Piccolomini determined to make the 
Library a worthy monument of his uncle, and engaged 
Pintoricchio to decorate it with a series of frescoes illustrating 
the life of Pius n, " with such personages, action, and cos 
tumes as are necessary and convenient for the proper portrayal 
thereof." x The work had not advanced far when Cardinal 
Piccolomini became Pope Pius in, and died in October 1503, 
after a reign of two months. While Pius in slept beside 
Pius ii in S. Peter s, Pintoricchio laboured in the Piccolomini 
Library, and the completed work served as a memorial 
of both uncle and nephew. The large fresco over the 
entrance to the Library from the Cathedral commemorates 
the coronation of Pius in. Upon the walls of the Library 
itself, Pintoricchio has told in ten scenes, alive with light 
and joy and colour, the life-story of the humanist Pope. 2 

1 Cf. Corrado Ricci, Pintoricchio. 

2 The subjects of these famous frescoes are as follows : i. " ^neas 
starting for the Council of Basel " ; 2. " The Mission to Scotland " ; 
3. " Coronation as Poet by Frederick in " ; 4. " The Reconciliation with 
Eugenius iv " ; 5. " The Betrothal of Frederick in and Leonora of 
Portugal " ; 6. " ^Eneas made a Cardinal by Calixtus in " ; 7. " The 



PIENZA AND THE PICCOLOMINI 265 

Antonio Piccolomini did not share the studious tastes 
of his brother, and in less prosperous days, when a learned 
career seemed likely to offer him his best chance in life, 
he was a cause of serious anxiety to his father and uncle. 
" We understand that Antonio is no scholar, and is doing 
little good," wrote yEneas to Nanni Todeschini in September 
J 453- " We gathered as much from his letters, which are 
execrably written. We trust that he will mend his ways, 
and at least learn to express himself better." l Luckily 
for this young scapegrace, his uncle s election to the Papacy 
enabled him to cast aside his books and to enter upon 
a military career. He was at once made Castellan of 
S. Angelo, an office which gave him high military authority 
in Rome. When the war broke out, he led the Papal 
forces in the Neapolitan kingdom, and won an honourable 
reputation as a soldier. In 1461 he was married to Maria 
of Aragon, the illegitimate daughter of King Ferrante, and 
became Duke of Amalfi and Grand Justiciar of Naples. 
Thus the idle boy of the family entered the ranks of the 
princes of Italy, and there seemed no limit to the possibilities 
which lay before him. 

Provision was also made for the two younger brothers, 
Giacomo and Andrea. Giacomo was given the little 
lordship of Camporsevoli near Chiusi, and on the break-up 
of the Malatesta dominions he became Duke of Monte- 
marciano, in the March of Ancona. To Andrea fell the 
Tuscan dominion of Castiglione della Pescaja with the 
island of Giglio, granted to him by Ferrante of Naples. 
He played a considerable part in the politics of Siena, and 
his daughter Vittoria married Borghese Petrucci, the son 
of the famous Pandolfo. In the next generation Andrea s 
granddaughter and heiress, Silvia, married her cousin, the 
Duke of Amalfi, thus uniting the two branches of the family. 2 

Election of Pius n " ; 8. " The Congress of Mantua " ; 9. " The Canonisa 
tion of S. Catherine of Siena " ; 10. " Pius n at Ancona." 

1 Cf. Voigt, vol. iii. p. 28 ; and Wolkan, Ep. 37. 

2 Cf . Litta, Famiglie Celebri d Italia : Piccolomini. 



266 POPE PIUS II 

Meanwhile Antonio, Duke of Amain, pursued his splendid 
career. He was undoubtedly the favourite nephew, and 
he came in for a large share of the Malatesta dominions 
on the fall of Sigismondo. Sinigaglia and Mondavio passed 
into his possession, and it was rumoured that Pius n dreamed 
of a strong State in the March of Ancona under the rule of 
Antonio. The Pope s death put an end to such schemes, 
if they ever existed. Paul n left Antonio in possession 
of his fiefs in the March, but the election of Sixtus iv 
forced him to make way for the new Pope s ambitious 
nephews. Thereupon he retired to Naples, where he 
continued to enjoy high favour with Ferrante. His 
successors were distinguished by their loyalty to the 
Aragonese dynasty in Naples, and they later became the 
devoted servants of the Emperor Charles v. On the death 
of Antonio s last male descendant, in 1566, the Duchy of 
Amain was given by the Spanish Crown to Marshal Ottavio, 
who once more made the name of Piccolomini famous 
throughout Europe. 1 

In Siena, to-day, the graceful Loggia del Papa stands 
as a permanent memorial to the love and care which 
Pius ii lavished upon his family. " Pius n Pont. Max. 
gentilibus suis Picolomineis " runs the inscription: "Pope 
Pius ii to his relations the Piccolomini." Family pride 
and family affection taught him to regard his own brilliant 
career in the light of a tribute to the honour of that name. 

Throughout the years of his crowded life Pius n never 
forgot Corsignano. "When you go to Corsignano," he 
wrote to his father in 1444, " greet the old friends in my 
name, and especially my nurse Bartolomea, if she is still 
alive. Her husband Berte is, I imagine, no longer in the 
land of the living." 2 A letter written to the Republic of 
Siena from Rome, during his Cardinalate, shows how near 
the interests of the little community lay to the heart of 

1 Litta, op. cit. 

2 .Eneas Silvius to Silvio Piccolomini, 19 Nov. 1444 (Voigt, Brief e, 
No. 130, p. 358; and Wolkan, Ep. 162). 




LOGGIA DEL PAPA 
SIENA 



PIENZA AND THE PICCOLOMINI 267 

^Eneas Silvius. His object was to ask that Corsignano 
might be excused payment of a tax of three hundred 
ducats. " We were born and brought up in Corsignano," 
he writes, " and we love the inhabitants as our fellow- 
townsmen. We pray you, therefore, to consider them as 
commended to your favour on our account. As we learn 
that they are poor and unable to bear this burden, it would 
be most welcome to us if they obtained some remission by 
means of our letters, so that they may know that they are 
benefited by our love." 1 But the time was now at hand 
when ^Eneas would be able to give his native village a far 
more splendid proof of his affection. When Pius n set out 
for the Congress of Mantua in January 1459, the scheme 
for the creation of Pienza must already have been in his 
mind. On 21 February, Corsignano learned that the 
Pope and six Cardinals were in the neighbourhood and 
might be expected to enter the village at midday. Nothing 
could exceed the enthusiasm with which Pius was welcomed. 
The inhabitants had done their utmost to make ready for 
the occasion, and Laudomia and Caterina Piccolomini, with 
their husbands and children and various other members 
of the family, were gathered to welcome him. Among the 
crowd which pressed forward to receive the Papal blessing 
was the old priest Piero, eager to recognise in his spiritual 
sovereign the little ^Eneas whom he had taught in bygone 
years. 

Next day was the Feast of S. Peter s Chair, and Pius n 
celebrated Mass in the Church of S. Francesco. The 
commemoration of S. Peter s installation as the chief of 
the Apostles took on a new significance to these simple 
Tuscan peasants, when S. Peter s successor was present in 
their midst, in the person of their friend and fellow-citizen, 
^neas Silvius Piccolomini. Pius, however, could not 
revisit the place of his birth without a certain sense of 

1 Cf. Mannucci, Fondazione della Cattedrale di Pienza (Arle e Storia, 
Anno xxiv. (1905) ; Numcro unico pubblicato in occasionc del v cente- 
nario della nascita di Enea Silvio Piccolomini). 



268 POPE PIUS II 

sadness, and with characteristic craving for self-expression 
he has left a record of the conflicting emotions which beset 
him. 1 He had looked forward with the keenest anticipa 
tion to revisiting the old haunts and talking with the friends 
of his childhood. Yet when he found himself at Corsignano 
his joy was overshadowed by sorrow at the changes which 
time had wrought. Many of his friends were dead, others 
were confined to their houses by old age or ill-health, those 
from whom he had parted as boys had grown-up children 
of their own, and were so altered that he hardly recognised 
them. There were few with whom time had dealt more 
hardly than it had with Pius n himself. Although only in 
his fifty-fourth year, he was already an old man. Long 
years of ceaseless activity had made his head bald before 
its time and had furrowed his face with wrinkles. His 
gouty feet could scarcely bear the weight of his body. He 
had a chronic cough, and was rarely free from pain. Yet 
his bright eyes revealed an energy of spirit which could still 
triumph over bodily infirmity : in his power of enjoyment 
and zest for living he possessed the secret of perpetual youth. 
Before Pius left Corsignano he had made the necessary 
arrangements for the execution of his great project. The 
Florentine, Bernardo Rossellino, was engaged as architect, 
and Siena contributed her share to the undertaking by 
allowing wood to be brought from the famous forests of 
Monte Amiata, which had furnished building materials 
for many houses in Rome. 2 Some eighteen months later, 
on his return from Mantua, Pius paid a second visit to the 
village, in order to see how the work progressed. He found 
that the church and palace which he had planned were 
already rising from their foundations, and that they gave 
promise of being " unsurpassed by any building in Italy." 3 
But the Pope could not linger to watch their growth. 

1 Commentarii, lib. ii. p. 44. 

2 Mannucci, Fondazione della Cattedrale di Pienza (Arte e Storia, 
1905). 

3 Commentarii, lib. iv. p. no. 






PIENZA AND THE PICCOLOMINI 269 

He was detained at Corsignano for twelve days by a severe 
chill which affected all his limbs and made him unable to 
move without help, but directly he could leave his bed he 
hastened on to Rome, in order to quell the disturbances 
which had arisen during his long absence. The Pope s 
affection for Tuscany was regarded with suspicion by the 
Romans, and in the following summer Pius found it wiser 
to spend his villegiatura in the Papal States. Thus it was 
not until 1462 that he was free to gratify his own taste. 
The month of July in that year saw him established in 
the Abbey of S. Salvatore on the slopes of Monte Amiata, 
from whence he could watch the city of his dreams as it 
rose into being upon the opposite hill-side. 

When this glad day arrived, Corsignano was no more. 
A Consistory held on 12 February 1462, had bequeathed to 
it a new name, and had pronounced that in honour of its 
patron it should be known henceforth as Pienza. 1 At the 
same time, the all but completed church was raised to the 
rank of a Cathedral, and Pienza with her neighbour, Montal- 
cino, was taken from the diocese of Arezzo to form a new 
bishopric. After a few weeks of tranquillity, spent with 
the monks of S. Salvatore, Pius crossed the Val d Orcia, 
to see for himself what progress had been made at Pienza. 
Once more he came to his home ill and suffering, and he 
was obliged to postpone his inspection of the new buildings 
for several days. When at last he made the tour of the 
Cathedral and palace, all his pains were forgotten in his 
joy over the fair vision which rose before him. With 
paternal pride he observed every detail of the work. The 
size and number of the windows in the palace, the arrange 
ments for carrying off water from the roof, the decorations 
of the walls and ceilings in the various rooms are all 
chronicled by the enthusiastic Pope. No less minute is 
his account of the Cathedral, complete now in all its 
fittings, from the two holy-water basins at the bottom of 

1 Pius II to the Priors of the Republic of Siena, 12 Feb. 1462. Cf. 
Mannucci, Arte e Storia, 1905- 



270 POPE PIUS II 

the nave to the beautiful intarsiatura of the choir-stalls. 
An artist s eye for beauty, the pride and joy of a lover 
combine with the practical wisdom and capacity for detail 
of a man of affairs to render the pages of the Commentaries 
which describe Pienza the most vivid in the book. 
Moreover, the description of 1462 still holds good. Owing 
to the completeness of the original scheme and to a blessed 
freedom from the ravages of the spoiler, the Commentaries 
are the best guide-book to Pienza as it is to-day. 1 

Few who visit the tiny city, a fair flower of the Renais 
sance blooming in a land that is eternally mediaeval, will 
deny that Pius had just cause to be proud of his creation. 
On the west side of the red-brick Piazza lies the massive 
pile of the Palazzo Piccolomini. Severe and yet not for 
bidding, decorative and yet not ornate, it is a perfect 
example of the domestic architecture of the early Renaissance, 
unsurpassed by the finest palaces in Siena or Florence. 
It is a square building, standing three storeys high, and 
fashioned of solid stone. Round its base runs a broad 
stone ledge, where the inhabitants lounge when they 
gather on the Piazza to laugh and gossip after Mass on 
feast-days, or in the evening when the day s work is done. 
After the usual Italian model, the palace is built round a 
central court : a small door gives access to it from the 
Piazza, while the principal entrance lies on the north side. 
On the right of the main entrance a staircase " of some 
forty easy steps " leads to the first floor and to the principal 
apartments. " Here," says Pius, " are winter and summer 
rooms, and those suited to the mean seasons. The bedrooms 
are " fit for kings," and " not a single room lacks a fire 
place or anything which could add to its comfort and con 
venience." The fine panelled ceilings, the floors of polished 
tiles, and the tasteful use of paint and gilding contribute 
to the general excellence of the effect. A distinctive 
feature of the palace are the spacious windows, " each large 
enough to allow three people to look out at once." " Truly," 

1 Commentarii, lib. ix. pp. 231-6. 



PIENZA AND THE PICCOLOMINI 271 

exclaims the Pope, " if, as all will agree, light is the chief 
grace of a house, then no dwelling is to be preferred to this, 
which is open to four prospects of the heavens, and which 
admits abundant light both from windows on the outer 
side of the palace and from those giving on the court 
yard." Of the many splendid apartments the most 
attractive is the great hall overlooking the Val d Orcia, 
which, with a small room leading out of it at either end, 
occupies the entire first floor on the south side of the 
square. The richly carved chimney piece of white stone 
which Pius mentions is still in its place, and two doors lead 
straight from the hall to the graceful loggia, " a most pleasant 
abode in the winter season." Pius occupied the adjoining 
room on the east, where his frescoed portrait still adorns 
the wall. Thus he could pass straight from his bed 
chamber, through the great hall, to the loggia, where he 
loved to sit and feast his eye upon the familiar landscape, 
while the September sun bathed his limbs as it pierced the 
mists of an autumn morning. On the ground floor a corre 
sponding loggia gives access to the garden. This is a 
square enclosure levelled with some ingenuity on the 
slope of the hill-side, a sunny bower, fragrant with 
basil and rosemary, hanging over the wild Val d Orcia. 
For the Pope s gouty limbs, steps and slopes were a matter 
of some inconvenience. Thus he appreciated to the full 
the admirable engineering which enabled him to pass from 
the great north entrance, through the courtyard and 
loggia, to the terrace at the far end of the garden, "with 
smooth step, not once having to raise his feet." 

At right angles to the Palazzo Piccolomini, on the 
southern side of the Piazza, rises Pius n s other great founda 
tion, the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin. " Against 
custom, and at the dictates of necessity," as Pius puts it, 
what should be the east end of the Cathedral faces south 
over the Val d Orcia, while the main entrance lies north 
and not west, fronting the Piazza. The fagade of grey 
stone, severely classical in form, produces an impression 



272 POPE PIUS II 

of coldness. No reliefs or statues break the lines of the 
columns and arches, and the circular design, framing the 
Piccolomini arms surmounted by the crossed keys and 
Papal tiara, which Pius describes as a " Cy clop s eye," 
is a poor compensation for other ornament. Inside the 
Cathedral this impression of coldness and severity is entirely 
dissipated, and the whole scheme of decoration bears 
witness to the taste and forethought of its founder. By 
the Pope s express desire the nave and the aisles on either 
side of it are of equal height. He had seen churches in 
Austria built on this model and had noticed the greater 
facilities for light which it afforded. So successful was 
his experiment that when he first visited the Cathedral 
and saw the sun streaming in through the great windows*, 
he seemed to be entering " a house of glass and not a house 
of stone." Pius also insisted that the walls of the Cathedral 
should be left plain, without frescoes or other decoration 
which would mar the pristine whiteness of the stone. 
Only in the chapels, forming the apse behind the high 
altar, were pictures allowed, executed at the Pope s order by 
" the best masters which Siena could produce." By a 
Bull of 16 September 1462, Pius forbade, on pain of ex 
communication only revocable by Papal authority, any 
additions to his original scheme. 1 Thus the Cathedral 
remains to-day as he planned it. The severe simplicity 
of the walls forms an impressive setting to the elegant 
grace of the eight clustered columns which support the 
nave. The roof above is painted a deep blue, spangled 
with golden stars, in imitation of the open heavens so dear 
to the heart of the Pope. There, too, in the chapels for 
which they were originally painted, hang the altar-pieces 
by the Sienese masters of the Quattrocento Vecchietta, 
Sano di Pietro, and Matteo di Giovanni. Set thus against 
their true background, the pictures preserve that dis 
tinction and vitality which all but the very highest works 
of art are prone to lose when crowded together on the walls 

1 Commentarii, lib. ix. p. 235. 




CATHEDRAL (INTERIOR) 

PIENZA 



PIENZA AND THE PICCOLOMINI 273 

of an Academy. Vecchietta s Assumption ranks among 
the artist s masterpieces. Surrounded by a galaxy of 
dancing angels, the majestic figure of the Madonna rises 
heavenwards, while Pope Pius i, S. Catherine of Siena, and 
two other saints bear witness to her ascent. All three 
pictures breathe the spirit of devotion and patriotism in 
which they were painted. The most interesting histori 
cally is that of Matteo di Giovanni, in which the Madonna 
sits enthroned among the four Fathers of the Church. 
Here, in the kneeling figure of Gregory the Great, we 
recognise the strongly marked features and keen, smiling 
eyes of Pius n. 

Underneath the main building is a lower church, which 
serves as a Baptistery, and which contains a handsome font 
of Rossellino s design. The contrast between this graceful 
structure and the massive basin, looking almost like a 
drinking trough, in the Church of SS. Vito e Modesto, where 
.ZEneas was baptized, is the contrast between the Renais 
sance and the mediaeval world. To the west of the 
Cathedral stands a house, now used as a museum, which 
the Pope destined for the Dean and Chapter. A small door 
into the Cathedral was made for their use, through which 
" they might pass without hindrance to the day and night 
offices. * The same practical forethought shows itself in 
the two splendid wells, both designed by Rossellino, and 
complete down to the very chains and buckets when Pius 
made his tour of inspection. One, standing in the garden 
of the Palazzo, was intended to supply the needs of the 
household, while the other was placed in the Piazza for the 
use of the citizens. Both wells are in working to-day, and 
the richly carved head and massive bucket of the Piazza 
well may be seen in a setting of flapping straw hats, gay 
scarves, and chattering voices, as the women of Pienza 
come daily to draw water and to bless the name of Pius n, 
who provided so generously for the needs of his people. 

Such were the new buildings of Pienza as Pius saw them 
in the summer of 1462. As might be expected, the archi- 
18 



274 POPE PIUS II 

tect had greatly exceeded his original estimate. Endless 
difficulties had been experienced in laying the foundations 
of the Cathedral in the crumbling volcanic soil, and various 
other accidents had occurred. Many persons were ready 
to blame the architect, and to accuse him of gross careless 
ness and extravagance, if not of actual fraud. Pius, how 
ever, turned a deaf ear to their complaints. Sending for 
the architect, he praised him for the miscalculation which 
had produced such happy results. You have done well, 
Bernardo, in deceiving us as to the expense of the work. 
If you had told us the truth, you would never have per 
suaded us to spend so much money ; and neither this noble 
palace nor this church, the finest in all Italy, would now 
be standing." 

Pius was enchanted with the result of Bernardo s 
labours, yet he could not blind himself to the fact that he 
had spent far more on Pienza than he could justify. At 
the same time, his scheme was not yet fully carried out. 
He therefore determined to shift at least a part of the 
future expense on to other shoulders. Having bought and 
pulled down some small houses on the north side of the 
Piazza, he presented the site to the Commune in order 
that the citizens might build themselves a suitable Palazzo 
Pubblico. How well they responded to the task may be 
seen to-day in the graceful little building, with its elegant 
loggia and red brick tower, which stands opposite to the 
Cathedral. Pius, moreover, resolved to transform Pienza 
into the summer capital of the Papacy ; and the Cardinals 
were asked, or rather politely commanded, to build palaces 
in the city. The Pope s best hope lay in Cardinal Borgia, 
whose riches were as great as his complaisance, and who 
had sufficient worldly wisdom to accept the inevitable in a 
graceful spirit. Borgia professed himself much honoured 
by the Pope s gift of the old communal buildings, and ere 
long he had transformed them into an elegant Renaissance 
palace, furnished with the sumptuous luxury for which 
he was famed. This palace is now the residence of the 



PIENZA AND THE PICCOLOMINI 275 

Bishop, and it lies opposite to the Palazzo Piccolomini, 
with the Cathedral and the Palazzo Pubblico on its left and 
right. With its erection Pius n s ideal was realised. The 
Piazza called by his name was enclosed by four noble 
buildings, and there was not a single blot upon the har 
monious perfection of the group. 

Other Cardinals responded with less alacrity to the 
Pope s appeal. Young Francesco Gonzaga, the son of 
the Marquis ol Mantua, who had obtained his Cardinal s 
hat only a few months before, was most reluctant to embark 
upon so great an outlay. Yet he desired above all things 
to obtain the Bishopric of Mantua when next it fell vacant, 
and Pius n s hint that, unless he were more obliging, the 
Bishopric might be given to another, at once induced him 
to obey. In a letter dated 28 August 1462 he begs his 
father to help him in meeting this expense, assuring him 
that it is absolutely necessary to do what the Pope requires, 
and that it must be done, moreover, \vithout delay. 1 In 
spite of the pressure put upon him, Francesco does not 
appear to have done more than buy a piece of ground for 
future use. The building of his palace had not yet begun 
when the Pope s death came to spare the needy Mantuan 
from further expense. 

In Jacopo Ammanati, Cardinal of Pavia, the Pope found 
a kindred spirit who soon rivalled Pius himself in his affec 
tion for Pienza. Three years after the Pope s death he 
wrote an enthusiastic letter to Goro Lolli, inviting him to 
visit the city which had become his home. What wonder, 
he exclaims, " if my retreat at Pienza delights me ! " The 
good air, the fine views, the pleasant shady walks, and the 
warm welcome which he receives from the Cathedral clergy, 
all combine to attract him thither. Hunting and fishing 
abound, " better wine is not to be had in all Tuscany," 
his house is well built and commodious. Above all, " the 
remembrance of our Pius " enhances the charm of these 

1 Francesco Bandini Piccolomini, Le Case Borgia e Gonzaga in Pienza 
(Arte e Storia, 1905). 



276 POPE PIUS II 

delights. " Here he was born, here he received baptism, 
here he left traces of his holy footprints. Wherever the 
eye turns there are memorials of his name." Out of grati 
tude towards his friend and benefactor, Ammanati has 
resolved to fulfil his dying wish, and, "forsaking all other 
places, to delight in Pienza alone." l 

Pius ii came to Pienza early in August 1462, and on 
the 29th of that month the Cathedral was consecrated with 
due ceremony. The weeks slipped by, summer merging into 
autumn, and still the Pope lingered on. S. Matthew s 
Day (21 September) found him still in the Palazzo Picco- 
lomini, throwing himself with whole-hearted zest into 
Pienza s annual fair. The festivities began with High 
Mass in the Cathedral, celebrated in the Pope s presence 
before a large and devout congregation. Then the whole 
multitude flocked outside the town, to feast at Pius n s 
expense in the large tents which he had provided for the 
occasion. No less than thirty oxen were slaughtered for 
the banquet, and every inhabitant ate and drank his full. 
The feasting ended, " every one gave themselves to buying 
and selling until evening," when a variety of races ter 
minated the day s programme. There were horse races, 
donkey races, and foot races for both men and boys. 
" These the Pope watched, not without pleasure, from a 
high window of the palace, whither he had retired with his 
Cardinals to transact public business." 2 The affairs of 
the Church caused Pius n grave anxiety, and at times the 
weight of his cares seemed too heavy to be borne. Yet he 
possessed the power of throwing those cares aside, and 
such mild excitements as the contests for the palio at 
Pienza could be to him the source of purest pleasure. He 

1 Jacobi Card. Pap. Epistolae, No. 278, p. 660. Cf. Avte e Storia, 1905. 

2 Cugnoni, p. 222 : " Haec Pontifex ex altissima fenestra cum Cardinali- 
bus, non sine jucunditate spectavit, quamvis interea de publicis ncgotiis 
auscultaret." The over - decorous editor of the Commentaries has 
emended the original MS. thus: "Haec Pontifex non spectavit: sed cum 
Cardinalibus interea de publicis negotiis consultabat" (Commentarii, 
lib. ix. p. 236). 



PIENZA AND THE PICCOLOMINI 277 

joined in the general laugh which arose when a riderless 
donkey came first to the winning post, and the judges 
awarded it the palio. His heart swelled with pride when 
a plucky Pienza lad bore off a fat goose, the prize for the 
boys race, and was forthwith carried round the town 
upon the shoulders of his exultant friends. 

The longest of summer holidays must end one day, and 
when October came, the Pope bade farewell to Pienza 
and started on his leisurely journey back to Rome. He 
hoped that this would be the first of many pleasant mile- 
giature in his old home, but in all probability he never saw 
Pienza again. In the spring of 1464 he was once more in 
Tuscany, and he spent Easter at Siena. By that time, 
however, he had made the desperate resolve to embark in 
person on a Crusade against the Turk. The chief object 
of his sojourn in Tuscany was to gain such measure of 
health at the baths of Petrioli as would enable his rapidly 
weakening frame to endure the fatigues and hardships 
which lay before him. It is possible that he took the 
opportunity to return to Pienza for a few days, but the 
absence of any record of his visit enables us to ring the 
curtain down on that October morning, when the shadows 
which darkened his last months of life had not yet closed 
over him, and when he could look back on the fair group 
of buildings on the hill-side, where the old white house 
of his childhood had stood, with pleasant memories of 
a successful holiday, and no less pleasant expectations of 
good days still to come. 

From that day forward the veil of oblivion was drawn 
over Pienza. For a few brief weeks she had been the 
centre of Christendom, the very Renaissance Rome that 
Pius would fain have made her. Then she relapsed, de 
serted and forgotten, into the slumber of decay. During 
four long centuries her slumber was unbroken, and those 
who visited her some twenty or thirty years ago spoke of 
her as a mere memory of vanished glories. To John 
Addington Symonds her condition seemed " something 



278 POPE PIUS II 

worse than ruin." The Piccolomini palace, rarely visited 
by its owners, had become " a granary for country produce 
in a starveling land," and the predominant impression which 
the place produced was one of almost sordid failure. 1 But 
for those who seek out Pienza to-day a better fate is in 
store. Within the last few years a happy turn of fortune 
has brought the Piccolomini back to Pienza. The Palazzo 
has been tastefully restored, and is now once more the 
centre of life in the little community. As in the days of 
Pius n, the citizens have been encouraged by the example 
of the Signori to do their part in the work of restoration. 
The Palazzo Pubblico has been redecorated and freed from 
ugly modern additions, and the various treasures belonging 
to the Cathedral have been collected in a small museum. 
Pienza, in short, has awakened from her long sleep, deter 
mined to prove worthy of her heritage. The culmination 
of her revival came in 1905, when the quincentenary of 
Pius n s birth was celebrated with every honour that the 
citizens could devise. The prime mover in the festivities 
which marked the occasion was Conte Silvio Piccolomini, 
the present representative of the race with which the 
fortunes of Pienza are associated. 

Thus Pienza to-day is much more than a memory. She 
has had her part in the general resurrection of Italy, and, 
in rising to a vigorous modern life, she has learned to be 
proud of her past greatness. More than ever, in her new 
found consciousness, is she the city of Pius n. His spirit 
hovers in the starry vaulting of the Cathedral, it mingles 
with the stir and laughter of the Piazza, and perhaps most 
of all it lingers in the sunny colonnades of the loggia over 
looking the Val d Orcia. The Piccolomini arms (argent, 
cross azure, charged with five crescents or), surmounted by 
the crossed keys and Papal tiara, meet the eye at every 
turn. The objects treasured in the little museum are 
nearly all Pius n s personal possessions, or gifts which he 
made to- the Cathedral. Here are the tapestries of Flemish 

1 Symonds, Italian Byways. 




COPE PRESENTED TO PIUS II BY THOMAS PAL/EOLOGUS 

FIENZA MUSEUM 



PIENZA AND THE PICCOLOMINI 279 

workmanship which he gave to adorn the Piazza on feast- 
days. Here are his mitre, ring, and pastoral staff. Here, 
above all, is the famous cope which has brought visitors 
to Pienza who know little or nothing of its founder. This 
marvel of embroidery is worked with twenty-five scenes 
from the life of the Blessed Virgin and that of S. Catherine 
of Alexandria, interwoven with every imaginable device 
of birds and flowers and foliage. Alive with dramatic 
feeling and glowing with colour, the minute perfection of 
the workmanship has caused it to be described as " a web 
woven by an embroidery needle." 1 It was fashioned, in 
all probability, by English hands in the thirteenth century, 
and it passed, we know not by what means, into the 
possession of Thomas Palaeologus, Despot of Morea. In 
his desperate flight from the East, Thomas brought the 
cope with him to Rome, and presented it to Pius n, from 
whom alone in Western Europe he could hope for succour 
against the Turk. Pius ranked it among his most priceless 
possessions. Therefore it found its last resting-place at 
Pienza, the city upon which he lavished all the best that he 
had to offer, the shrine upon which he laid his heart. 

1 Schippisi, Terre Toscane, p. 41. 



CHAPTER XIII 
THE MAN OF LETTERS 

7| ^ NEAS SILVIUS played many parts in the course 
/ I i of his career, and a supple disposition enabled 

J^ JL ^ him to play each in turn with some degree of 

credit. But there was one role which made no demands 
upon his adaptability. He was a diplomatist, a statesman, 
an ecclesiastic by necessity ; he was a man of letters by 
nature. In the preface to his first historical work, the 
Commentaries on the Council of Basel, he gives a picturesque 
account of his efforts to wean himself from literary pursuits. 1 
His friends urged him to " reject the codices of orators and 
historians," and to flee all manner of letters. "Are yea 
not ashamed, at your age, to possess neither lands nor 
money ? " they said. " Do you not know that it beho\es 
a man to be strong at twenty, wise at thirty, and rich at 
forty, and that he who passes these limits strives in vain? " 
^Eneas recognised the wisdom of their advice, but he ;vas 
quite unable to follow it. Over and over again he deter 
mined to " live no more from day to day as the birds ind 
beasts," but to employ himself in making provision for his 
old age. Yet, as moths flutter round a candle until 1hey 
are burnt in the flame, so he returned to his hurt and to 
his undoing, until he foresaw that naught but death would 
release him from the toils of literature. 

His instinct did not play him false. Poems and essays, 
letters and orations poured forth from his pen without 

1 Commentariorum . . . de Gestis Basiliensis Concilii (Optra), 
p. i. 



THE MAN OF LETTERS 281 

intermission throughout the course of his life. In the 
five years which followed the writing of the preface quoted 
above, ^neas s literary productions included a novel, a 
comedy, many poems, and treatises on such different subjects 
as the Authority of General Councils, the Nature and Care 
of Horses, Fortune, Education, and the Miseries of Courtiers. 
As behoves a true humanist, he was interested in every 
thing, and at no period were his writings confined to any 
one class of subject. Nevertheless, his literary develop 
ment has three distinct phases. Like most clever 
young men, he began by writing poetry. Later on the 
exigencies of his profession made him an essayist and 
pamphleteer. In the end he found his true vocation as an 
historian. 

We learn from Goro Lolli that ^Eneas was a prolific 
writer of verse in his student days. Some of his poems 
were in Latin, others were in Italian, and framed on the 
model of Petrarch. These youthful efforts were treasured by 
the faithful Goro, who informed Ammanati, after Pius n s 
death, that he had " almost innumerable examples " in 
his possession. 1 But they were not included in the printed 
editions of Pius n s works, and are for the most part lost 
to posterity. Before he left Siena ^Eneas wrote a poem 
entitled " Nymphilexis " in praise of one Battista, the 
mistress of Socino Benzi of Ferrara. It consisted, said the 
proud author, of " more than two thousand lines," but it 
has not survived to allow us to judge of its merits. 2 During 
his early days at the Imperial Court the newly crowned 
poet addressed many verses to Frederick m. Among them 
were poems " in praise of Caesar," and a hymn on the 
Passion in Sapphic metre. 3 Chancellor Schlick was also 
honoured in his protege s verse, and ^Eneas s most ambitious 
effort at this period was a Latin comedy, in the style of 

1 Jacobi Card. Pap., Ep. 47, p. 494. 

2 /Eneas Silvius to Socino Benzi, 1431 (Wolkan, Ep. 3 ; Opera, 
Ep. 35)- 

3 Cugnoni, pp. 342-70, gives these and other of ^Eneas s poems. 



282 POPE PIUS II 

Terence, entitled Chrisis* The German Court, however, 
was not fruitful soil for poetry, and as ^Eneas became 
engrossed in his profession he ceased to cultivate the poetic 
muse. From henceforth he only wrote occasional verse, 
epigrams on current events, love poems, or epitaphs in 
honour of departed friends. His quick sympathies com 
bined with refined taste and facility of expression to render 
him an adept in the art of epitaph-making. The fine 
inscription which can still be seen on the tomb of Nicholas v, 
in the crypts of the Vatican, is a conspicuous example of 
his talent. 

During his Pontificate Pius n composed hymns to the 
Blessed Virgin and to S. Catherine of Siena, and he also 
drew up the Office appointed to be said on S. Catherine s 
Day (5 May). The solemn Litany which closed the Congress 
of Mantua was the Pope s composition, and various other 
opportunities presented themselves for the exercise of his 
poetic gifts. Nevertheless, meagre as are the survivals of 
^Eneas s art, they are sufficient to show that he was in no 
sense a poet. He writes as a clever man of letters, as a 
scholar and a stylist, but his poems lack spontaneity. 
They are at best skilfully fashioned conceits, untouched 
by the divine fire. The vein of true poetry which he un 
doubtedly possessed appears not in his verse, but in the 
unique and altogether charming descriptions of natural 
scenery which are interspersed among his prose writings. 
" It was the month of May, and everything was growing ; 
the fields rejoiced, the woods were alive with the song of 
birds." So wrote Pius n when he was borne over the vast 
stretches of the Campagna, " golden with flowering broom," 
and gay in its mantle of spring flowers, " now purple, now 
white, and now a thousand other hues." 2 During his 
sojourn at Viterbo " the Pope went out almost every day 

1 Cf. neas Silvius to Michael Pfullendorf, i Oct. 1444 (Wolkan, 
Ep. 158, and Opera, Ep. 97). The hitherto unpublished MS. of Chrisis 
is being prepared for publication by Dr. Wolkan. 

2 Commentarii, lib. viii. p. 206. 



THE MAN OF LETTERS 283 

in the early morning before it was hot, to breathe the 
fragrant air, and to view the growing crops. The blue 
flax imitated the colour of heaven, and gave the greatest 
delight to those who saw it. Nowhere but at Viterbo 
are there so many and such vast fields of flax. The Pope 
wandered everywhere, among meadows and sown land, 
choosing different paths every day." x Again, it is the 
poet who speaks in Pius n s description of Nemi and her 
deep blue waters, so clear " that they reflect the image of 
the gazer," and which earned from the ancients the title 
of the Mirror of Diana. The lake, he says, lies hidden in 
a deep valley, and the surrounding slopes are a veritable 
forest of fruit trees. " Some slopes are covered with 
chestnuts and others with hazels. There are diverse kinds 
of apple, and below them the humble medlar, and trees which 
bear pears, plums, and quinces." A road runs all round 
the lake, rambling through cool glades where the sun s 
rays cannot penetrate. There is no more pleasant place 
in summer than these shady paths. It is the meet haunt 
of poets ; nowhere would the poetic flame be kindled if it 
slumbered here. It is the home of the Muses, the hiding- 
place of nymphs. True is the legend which tells us that it 
is Diana s bower." 2 The man who could write thus had 
the poet s vision if he had not the poet s lyre. These 
descriptions of Italian scenery are prose idylls, springing 
from the heart of a lover. 

Among his contemporaries /Eneas was probably most 
celebrated as a pamphleteer. In the course of his career 
he wrote a series of tracts upon the great ecclesiastical 
question of the day, the position and authority of General 
Councils. The cycle begins with his unqualified champion 
ship of the Conciliar theory in the Dialogues composed 
at Basel (1440), 3 and it does not terminate until 1463, 
when the Bull In minoribus agentes proclaimed his final 
repudiation of the " Basel heresy." Between these two 

1 Commentarii, lib. viii. p. 207. 2 Ibid., lib. xi. p. 307. 

3 Cf. above, p. 68. 



284 POPE PIUS II 

extremes lie letters, essays, dialogues, and Bulls, which 
treat of the same subject from many and diverse points 
of view. ^Eneas s letter to his friend Hartung von Keppel l 
and his dialogue entitled Pentalogus 2 both belong to the 
year 1443. Here the author is still firm on the general 
principle of the Conciliar movement, but he holds no 
brief for the Council of Basel. He is the servant of the 
Emperor, and the apologist of German neutrality, who 
discusses the quarrel between Pope and Council from the 
point of view of an onlooker. The special object of the 
Pentalogus was to advocate the summons of a fresh Council, 
or Congress of princes, for the purpose of judging between 
the combatants. 

Three years later, in 1446, ^Eneas wrote the tract 
De Ortu et authoritate Romani Imperil, which is in some 
respects the most important of the series. 3 By this time 
our hero had declared himself decisively on the side of 
the Papacy. He had made his own peace with Eugenius iv, 
and was about to enter upon those delicate negotiations 
which brought Germany to the feet of the Pope. Thus 
his main object was to impart some degree of self-confidence 
to the timorous Emperor, lest he should spoil the plans 
of the Papal party by an abject submission to the princes. 4 
In form, the De Ortu is no mere pamphlet, but a treatise 
on political science. Beginning with a philosophical 
account of the origin of the State, he shows that men 
were led by reason first to ordered society, and then to 
kingship, as the sole means of restraining their selfish 
passions. Thus the kingly power of Rome which we call 
the Holy Roman Empire derives its origin from that same 
human reason which is the source of all good living, and 
which all must obey." His conception of the State is 
no other than the mediaeval theory of the Holy Roman 

1 Cf. above, p. 84. 2 Cf. above, p. 75. 

3 Printed in Goldast, Monarchia, T. ii. p. 1558. Cf. p. no, above. 

4 Cf. Voigt, i. p. 352. Meusel, Enea Silvio als Publicist, finds the 
origin of the tract in motives purely personal to the author; but his 
personal and political interests were identical at this period. 



THE MAN OF LETTERS 285 

Empire, in which Pope and Emperor rule as twin powers, 
supreme in their respective spheres. The treatise is 
based on the works of mediaeval publicists S. Thomas 
Aquinas, Engelbert, and Jordanus of Osnabriich while it 
borrows largely from Nicholas of Cusa. Cicero is its chief 
authority among the ancients, and there are traces of 
the influence of Sallust, Seneca, and Boethius. Its dis 
tinguishing feature is an unhesitating assertion of Imperial 
absolutism. For the first time in German history the 
Holy Roman Emperor is invested with the absolute 
authority of the Caesars. He is " lord of laws," and it is 
" of grace " alone if he allows himself to be bound by 
them. All limitations on his authority are invalid ; there 
is no appeal from his sentence; all owe him obedience. 
It is a strange irony of fate that the principle of absolutism, 
from which the princes derived such advantage in the 
century that followed, should have been first expounded 
in Germany in a tract designed to encourage the Emperor 
in resisting their pretensions. 

All that was said in De Ortu of the authority of the 
Emperor applied with equal force to that of the Pope. 
He is the absolute monarch par excellence, and the author 
explains the Emperor s absolutism by saying that he is 
as supreme in the temporal sphere as the Pope is in the 
spiritual. There is no room for any conception of a 
Council as a rival, far less as a superior authority to the 
Papacy. It was a complete volte face on the part of the 
author of the Dialogues, and when ^Eneas, the newly 
appointed Bishop of Trieste, went to Cologne in 1447, 
on the Emperor s business, he was subjected to some 
plain criticism on his apostasy. In the course of a banquet 
given by the University, he was reminded by the Rector 
and Professors of his lucid exposition of the Conciliar 
theory seven years before. 1 His persuasive words had 
moved them to acknowledge the Council of Basel as a 

1 The Dialogues were written to remove the doubts of the University 
of Cologne with regard to the Council of Basel. 



286 POPE PIUS II 

true and undoubted Council of the Church. Could it 
have been the prospect of a Bishopric which had caused 
so remarkable a change of front ? ^neas s reply to the 
taunts of the University is the first written retraction of 
his earlier opinions, and it takes its place among his 
many exercises in the art of explaining himself. 1 Here, 
as elsewhere, his past errors are ascribed to youth, in 
experience, and evil example. He can only thank God 
that, like Saul and Augustine before him, he has seen his 
mistake and has been led to repentance. 

But the past could not be blotted out thus easily, 
and his advocacy of the claims of a General Council were 
cast in his teeth on many subsequent occasions. The 
Ger mania? perhaps the most attractive of his polemical 
essays, was written to show the prosperity which Germany 
enjoyed under Papal rule and the confusion into which 
she had been plunged by the champions of the Conciliar 
movement. The Bull Execrabilis, 3 which set its seal 
upon the proceedings at Mantua, may claim a place in 
the same cycle. Finally, an appeal to a future Council 
from the University of Cologne, citing the authority of 
.^neas Silvius, called forth the Bull In minoribus agentes. 
Thus the University which had been the cause of ^neas s 
first pamphlet also moved him to write his last. Some 
men, wrote the Pope, would rather die than confess their 
errors, but he will follow the example of S. Augustine, 
and make full confession of his past. Once more he tells 
the old familiar story of his coming to Basel, as a young 
bird let loose from the University of Siena, of the influences 
to which he was subjected, and of the great names which 
led him astray. He speaks again of the doubts which 
began to assail him ; of his transference to the Imperial 
Court ; of the scales which fell from his eyes when, for the 
first time, he heard both sides of the question ; and of his 
conversion to an unqualified belief in the supremacy of 

1 Printed in Fea, pp. 1-17. a Cf. p. 140, above. 

3 Cf. p. 178, above. 



THE MAN OF LETTERS 287 

the successors of S. Peter over the Catholic Church. " If 
you find anything contrary to this doctrine either in our 
Dialogues or in our Letters, or in our other works (for we 
wrote much in our youth), cast it forth in contempt. 
Follow what we now say : believe the old man rather 
than the Pope ; reject ^Eneas, accept Pius ; the Gentile 
name was given us by our parents at our birth, the 
Christian name we took on our Pontificate." 1 

So the cycle was completed, and in it ^Eneas has left 
ample proof of his talents as a writer of political tracts. 
Eloquence, as he knew full well, was the most powerful 
weapon in his armoury. He had made himself a past 
master in the tricks of the trade, and the rules laid down 
in his treatise on the Art of Rhetoric z were consistently 
applied to his own writings. He usually began by an 
appreciation of the position of his opponents, or by 
extolling their personal merits. In answering objections, 
he chose out those which were easiest to refute, and made 
them the basis of his arguments. The points which 
presented greater difficulty were treated lightly, as matters 
of minor importance. All this he did deliberately and 
effectively, and the arts which he acquired by practice 
combined with his natural gift of persuasion to make him 
almost an ideal pamphleteer. Yet the value of a tract, 
as such, cannot be more than ephemeral, and it is not 
altogether easy to assign to ^Eneas s productions their 
permanent place in literature. Perhaps the most obvious 
conclusion to be drawn from them is that the author is 
only mildly interested in questions of abstract thought. 
He reveals himself in his essays as a man of letters, a 
gifted amateur in politics, and a dilettante in matters 
ecclesiastical, not as a political theorist or a theologian. 
His conception of philosophy is narrow. It is a guide 
to right conduct, and a subject treated of by masters of 

1 Complete in Fea, pp. 148-64; extracts in Raynaldus, 1463, 
No. 114. 

z Artis Rhctoncae Praecepta (Opera, pp. 992-1034. Written in 1456). 



288 POPE PIUS II 

style. " Respect towards women, love of home and 
children, reverence for old age, pity for the distressed, 
justice towards all ; self-control in anger, restraint in 
indulgence, modesty in success, courage in misfortune 
these are some of the virtues to which philosophy will 
lead you." 1 So wrote ^Eneas in his treatise on Education. 
His advice to young Ladislas for the study of the subject 
is to commit a few sentences from the best authors to 
memory daily. 2 

The value of ^Eneas s treatises lies less in his handling 
of the main subject than in the means which he uses for 
its presentment. What lives in the Germania is not the 
vindication of Papal policy, but the unrivalled descrip 
tion of Germany in the fifteenth century, in which the 
wealth of the author s knowledge and observation is laid 
under contribution to give an attractive and informing 
picture of every town that he mentions. We read the 
Dialogues to-day not for the arguments in support of 
the Conciliar movement, but for the sketch of daily life 
at Basel which they contain. The reasoning with which 
Caccia met and overcame Cusa s objections is forgotten, 
but the cheerful conversation of ^Eneas and his friend 
Martin still lives in the memory. Cusa and Caccia seat 
themselves on a grassy bank by the river-side in order 
to continue their discussion. As the sun declines they 
pause to say Vespers, and the other pair congratulate 
themselves on being able to spend their time in cultured 
conversation instead of wasting the precious hours in the 
recitation of Offices. The four companions reach the 
gates of Basel, and the needy ^Eneas joyfully accepts an 
invitation to supper. These are some of the delicate, 
sharply cut vignettes which adorn the pages of the 
Dialogues, and these are the features which give them a 
permanent place in literature. 

Through every phase in his varied existence, ^Eneas 

1 De Liberorum Educatione (Opera, p. 991). Cf. above, p. no. 

2 Op. cit., p. 975. 



THE MAN OF LETTERS 289 

had two main interests his fellow- creatures and the world 
in which they lived. True child of the Renaissance, he 
played his part in " the rediscovery of the world and the 
rediscovery of man." In his historical works his heart 
was in his subject, and here his literary greatness revealed 
itself. The universal springtime of the fifteenth century 
saw a new birth in the study of history. In the Middle 
Ages, when the noblest minds sought escape from the world, 
the origin and conditions of European nations evoked 
little interest. When, however, with the dawn of the 
Renaissance, the world became something to be enjoyed 
and understood to the uttermost, the scholar who gloried 
in the name of humanist seized every opportunity of adding 
to his historical knowledge. The historians of antiquity 
held the first place in his esteem, but his very admiration 
for them inspired him to exercise his talents upon the 
record of contemporary events, in the hope of performing 
for his own age the services which the classical writers 
had rendered to the past. Among the host of Renaissance 
historians, none was more thoroughly imbued with the 
spirit of his age than the humanist Pope. He, almost alone 
among his contemporaries, rose superior to the classical 
prejudices of the day, and thought it worth while to wade 
through uncouth masses of mediaeval material, in order to 
learn something of the nations of Europe in their infancy. 
No period of the world s history seemed to him unworthy 
of a humanist s attention ; therefore he applied himself 
to the study of the despised Middle Ages, and in so doing 
became the pioneer of a new development in historical 
writing. As an historian no less than as a statesman, he 
is a mirror of the Renaissance. His historical ideals are 
those of every humanist ; his distinction lies in the personal 
gifts which enabled him to put those ideals into practice. 
Untiring energy, wide sympathies, extraordinary powers 
of observation, and an instinct for self-expression which 
made writing a necessity to him, these are some of the 
qualities which distinguish ^Eneas Silvius as a man of 



290 POPE PIUS II 

letters, and which give him a right to be enrolled in the 
company of modern historians. 

From the outset of his career ^Eneas looked upon his 
adventures and experiences as so much material for history. 
When lack of books put him at a disadvantage in the sphere 
of scholarship, he found scope for his literary instincts in 
describing the scenes amongst which he was living. The 
story of his various works upon the Council of Basel, and 
of how they came to be written, throws much light upon 
his historical methods. He had not been long at Basel 
before he conceived the idea of writing a History of the 
Council, and he at once produced an interesting account 
of the city and its surroundings, as an introduction to his 
work. 1 His wandering life as a secretary prevented him 
from carrying out his original intention, and his first 
History was not written until 1440. Yet, throughout the 
intervening years, he was collecting material and improving 
his style by means of his letters. Written when the events 
which they record were fresh in the author s mind, they 
form, as it were, the documents on which he based his 
more mature work. ^Eneas s reports to Siena on the pro 
ceedings of the Council 2 form an important part of the 
collection, as does his famous letter to Piero da Noceto, 
describing the breach between the moderates and the 
extremists in May 1437. 3 The Commentaries on the 
Council of Basel, written in 1440, has the form of an 
historical work, but in substance it belongs to the pre 
liminary collection of documents. 4 Beginning with an 
account of the negotiations leading to Eugenius iv s de 
position and the election of the anti-Pope, it concludes 
with a letter to John of Segovia describing the ceremonies 
of Felix v s coronation. Thus the events of which it treats 
are practically confined to the year 1439, and the author s 
point of view is frankly that of Felix v s secretary and 

1 Cf. above, pp. 33-5. 2 Cf. above, p. 53. 3 Cf. above, p. 59. 

4 Commentariorum de Gestis Basiliensis Concilii (Opera, pp. 1-63). 
Cf, above, p. 69, 



THE MAN OF LETTERS 291 

champion. He is full of admiration for the energetic 
leader of the anti-Papal party, Louis, Cardinal of Aries, 
and he speaks confidently of the happy era which has 
dawned for the Church under the auspices of her new 
shepherd, Felix v. Eugenius iv, on the other hand, is alluded 
to as plain Gabriel Condulmier, " a reed shaken by the 
wind," and an object of dislike and contempt. Yet ^Eneas s 
historical instincts were too strong for him to write a mere 
political tract. He could not refrain from describing the 
quarrels and idiosyncrasies of the stalwarts at Basel in a 
way that was hardly calculated to enhance the Council s 
prestige in the eyes of Europe. With an eye for picturesque 
details and striking situations, he paints a truer picture 
than he intended, and reveals aspects of the Council alto 
gether beyond the ken of its conscientious chronicler John 
of Segovia. 

Some ten years later, between 1448 and 1451, ^Eneas 
gave his final verdict upon the Conciliar movement in De 
Rebus Basiliae Gestis Commentarius. 1 Here the author s 
obj ect is to give a brief survey of the history of the Council 
of Basel, in order that posterity may know " how in our 
days the schism was born and nourished, grew and expired." 
Beginning with the publication of the Constance decrees 
providing for the recurrence of General Councils, he traces 
the course of events at Basel from the opening of the Council 
until its dissolution in 1449. De Rebus Basiliae Gestis 
thus forms a brilliant historical essay in which the graphic 
descriptions, ironic comments, and shrewd summaries of 
character are a heritage from the author s earlier writings, 
while the well-preserved proportions, sane judgments, and 
clear, terse style bear witness to his ripened powers. ^Eneas s 
opinions had undergone considerable modification since 
1440, and he now wrote of the Conciliar movement as 
revolutionary and inimical to the Church. Felix v, whose 
coronation he had hailed with paeans of thanksgiving, is 
dismissed as " more useful to the Church by his death than 

1 Printed in Fea, Pius II a calumniis vindicatus, pp. 31-115. 



2 9 2 POPE PIUS II 

by his life." His History is undeniably biased, yet it 
never forfeits the name of history by descending to mere 
perversion of fact. The sum total of ^Eneas s writings on 
the Council render him the principal authority on the 
subject to-day. Few who have not turned his sparkling 
pages realise how largely the material, and indeed the 
very phrases of later historians are due to the active pen of 
this condottiere of letters. 

The most productive years of ^Eneas s life, from a literary 
point of view, were those in which he was living in Rome 
as a Cardinal. As compared with his multifarious activities 
at the Imperial Court and with the cares of his Pontificate, 
it was a time of leisure, while the libraries of Rome gave 
him access to books which he had coveted from his student- 
days. The History of Frederick III 1 and the History of 
Bohemia 2 bear witness to the use which he made of two 
years respite from more arduous labours. Here again, 
the works which he brought to completion in Rome embody 
miscellaneous writings covering the whole period of his 
soj ourn in Germany. The description of Vienna with which 
his Frederick III opens was written in 1438, and the im 
pression of size and prosperity which he gained from his 
first visit to the city still lingers in its phrases. " The 
amount of provisions which are brought into the city every 
day seems almost incredible. There are many wagon-loads 
of eggs and crabs, while white bread, meat, fish, and game 
are brought in great quantities. When evening falls you 
will find nothing left for sale." 3 One can almost see the 
keen-eyed Italian standing in the market and watching 
the immense stores of provisions gradually diminishing 
as the day wore on. The account of Frederick m s journey 
to Italy for his coronation and marriage is practically 
^neas s diary of an expedition in which he played the part 

1 Historia Friderici III (printed in Kollar, An. Mon. Vindobon., ii. 
pp. 1-476). 

z Historia Bohemica (printed in Opera, pp. 81-143). 

3 ^Eneas Silvius to a friend in Basel, April 1438 (Wolkan, Ep. 27 ; 
Opera, Ep. 165). 



THE MAN OF LETTERS 293 

of organiser-in-chief . For the Diet of Regensburg, and the 
fruitless efforts to stir up Europe to avenge the fall of 
Constantinople, he had his own History, written three 
months after the close of the Congress. 1 For other episodes 
he found useful material in his De Viris Claris, 2 a collection 
of some fifty biographical sketches written between 1444 
and 1450, in which the exploits of famous contemporaries, 
soldiers and statesmen, ecclesiastics and scholars, are 
recorded almost at haphazard, as if they had been jotted 
down in the historian s notebook for use on some future 
occasion. Besides his own writings, he could rely upon the 
letters of his numerous friends in Germany, and from 
them he obtained first-hand accounts of events which he 
did not himself witness, such as the heroic relief of Belgrad 
and the death of King Ladislas. 

The circumstances of his earlier life had given ^neas 
peculiar interest in Bohemia and considerable personal 
knowledge of its inhabitants. He saw the Hussite leaders 
ride into Basel for the Conference in 1433. In 1451 he was 
sent by Frederick in to attend the Bohemian Diet at 
Beneschau. Both going and returning he passed through 
Tabor, the stronghold of the extreme Hussites, and he 
afterwards wrote a letter to Carvajal describing all that he 
had heard and seen there. While he tarried in Rome in 
1455, hoping to receive a Cardinal s hat, he pleaded with 
Calixtus in for the recognition of the Compacts in an ora 
tion which gave an attractive and illuminating account of 
the conditions prevailing in Bohemia. With this oration 
still fresh in his mind he embarked upon his History. The 
author s attitude towards the religion of the Bohemians 
is throughout that of the orthodox Catholic. The Hussites 
are, in his eyes, " men who deny obedience to the Roman 
Church and forsake the religion of -their ancestors, slayers 
of priests, spoilers of the Church, without faith or good 

1 Historia de Ratisponensi Dieta (printed in Mansi, Orationes, vol. iii. 
pp. 1-85). 

2 De Viris aetate sua Claris (Mansi, iii. pp. 144-214). 



294 POPE PIUS II 

works." At Tabor he was filled with holy horror at finding 
himself in a city where " there are as many heresies as there 
are heads, and where every one is at liberty to believe what 
he will." l A creed of which the adherents despised the 
sacraments, refused to consecrate their churches, buried 
their dead in the fields like beasts, and only cared about 
hearing sermons, seemed to him a mere travesty of religion. 
The Taborites boasted that they followed the practices of 
primitive Christian society, and had all things in common. 
But " the first disciples distributed of their own goods to 
the brethren, and took nothing from strangers save what 
was freely given for the love of Christ. These men plunder 
the goods of others, and live in common upon the spoils 
of violence." 2 In the face of the prosperity and the 
victories of these impious heretics, ^Eneas feels obliged to 
evolve a theory by which to reconcile their present fortune 
with Divine justice. " As no one is so wicked as to be with 
out one spark of good," he writes, " God rewards the good 
in these persons with the blessings of this frail and fleeting 
life. Eternal light He cannot grant them, by reason of 
the greatness of their sins." 3 Nevertheless, Jineas is 
fascinated by the Bohemians even while he disapproves. 
When he describes the fierce bravery of the Hussite warriors, 
or the holy fortitude with which Hus and Jerome of Prag 
met their death at the stake, he writes with sympathy and 
enthusiasm. In the days of the Catholic Reaction this 
separation of heretics from their heresy was a crime for 
which unimpeachable orthodoxy could not atone, and Pope 
Pius n s Historia Bohemica eventually found its way on to 
the Index. 

Neither the History of Bohemia nor the History of 
Frederick III are limited to the events of the author s own 
day. His main authorities for the early history of Bohemia 
are the chronicles of Pulkawa and Dalimil, and the ancient 

1 JEneas Silvius to Cardinal Carvajal, 21 August 1451 (Opera, Ep. 130, 
p. 661). 

2 Loc. cit., p. 662. 3 Historia Bohemica (Opera), p. 81. 



THE MAN OF LETTERS 295 

sagas, telling of Cech, Krok, and other legendary heroes of 
the Tchech nation. ^Eneas s critical spirit prevented him 
from giving credence to their least plausible statements, 
but he lacked the material with which to correct their 
errors. For the introductory chapters of his Frederick III 
he was forced to make use of " a certain history which 
they call Austrian, written in the German tongue, which is 
both stupid and lying, the work of one of whom it is hard 
to judge whether he is more knave or fool." l He proceeds 
to expose the follies and inaccuracies of this " two-legged 
ass " with rather wearisome fulness, until the works of 
Otto of Freisingen provide him with worthier material. For 
Otto, the uncle of Barbarossa, who ranks with our hero in 
the goodly company of historians who are also ecclesiastics, 
^Eneas has the warmest admiration. " It is praiseworthy 
in Otto," he writes, " that although he records the deeds 
of his brother and nephew, who were enemies of the Roman 
Pontiffs, he so obeys the law of history that truth does not 
suffer from his kinship, nor his kinship from truth." 2 

Pius n s accession to the Papacy might well be expected 
to have put an end to his literary work. But the habits 
of a lifetime are hard to set aside, and during the years of 
his Pontificate he dedicated to history hours that should 
have been spent in rest and sleep. The last book of the 
Commentaries carries the events of his reign down to the 
spring of 1464, the eve of his departure for Ancona. His 
motive for writing a history of his Pontificate is characteristic 
both of himself and of his age. A true humanist in his 
thirst for glory, he longed for his name to live after him, 
and he considered it the plain duty of every ruler to take 
thought for his future reputation. In the case of a Pope 
this was all the more necessary, as the very prominence 
of his position placed him more at the mercy of envious 
tongues. But " envy will cease with death," and with 
the disappearance of personal passions which pervert 
justice, true fame will have its opportunity, " Pius will 

1 Historia Friderici III, p. 15. z Ibid., p. 29. 



296 POPE PIUS II 

be praised among illustrious Popes. 1 Hence the man 
who all through his life had taken pleasure in explaining 
himself determined to provide posterity with the material 
upon which a true judgment of his character could be 
based. Thus Pius is himself the hero of his last and 
greatest work. This fact alone gives higher artistic value 
to the Commentaries than is possessed by his earlier 
writings. In them proportion is apt to suffer from the 
inveterate egoism which makes ^Eneas Silvius loom larger 
than the central figures of the canvas. In the Commentaries 
the author s egoism can have full play, and the more his 
personality predominates the greater the unity of the 
whole. 

The first book of the Commentaries treats of the origins 
of the author s family, and gives a brief sketch of his career 
up to 1458 ; the remaining twelve books are devoted to 
the events of his Pontificate. 2 Yet we have here far more 
than a history of Pius n s brief reign. At every turn 
episodes are introduced relating to the history of those 
States and individuals with which the author came into 
contact. Pius stays at Florence on his way to Mantua, 
and so pauses in his narrative to explain the peculiar 
position of the Medici, and to enumerate the great men of 
all ages who have made Florence famous. The arrival of 
Francesco Sforza at Mantua provides the occasion for a 
digression on the Duchy of Milan in which the author 
relates how " the once powerful kingdom of the Lombards, 
with its rich territories, passed to the Sforza, whose ancestors 
within the memory of our fathers hardly possessed as much 
land as they could till." 3 In the same way, the account of 
Pius u s negotiations with Louis xi over the Pragmatic 
Sanction is prefaced by a sketch of French history which 

1 Commentaviorum Pii II Pont. Max., Praefatio. 

2 The references made here to the first twelve books are to the Frank 
fort edition of 1614 ; the thirteenth book is given by Voigt, vol. ii. 
PP- 359-77- For the various MSS. of the Commentaries and the form in 
which they were published, cf. Chapter XV., pp. 343-5. 

8 Commentarii, lib. iii. p. 72. 



THE MAN OF LETTERS 297 

traces the origin of the Hundred Years War, and gives 
graphic descriptions of the battle of Agincourt, the murder 
of John of Burgundy, and the career of Jeanne d Arc. 1 
Thus the Commentaries embody the experience and ob 
servation of a lifetime. There is hardly a great man of the 
day who does not figure in their pages ; every phase of 
European politics is touched upon, and every important 
town in Italy is described. And all is told in a style full 
of charm and individuality, in which the freshness of a 
mediaeval chronicler mingles with the critical spirit of a 
Renaissance scholar. It is surprising indeed that so re 
markable a book should be so comparatively little known. 
It is impossible to dwell upon the numerous historical 
essays scattered up and down our hero s works. In the 
Basel Dialogues ^Eneas takes advantage of a chance 
reference to the excommunication of King Lothair by 
Pope Nicholas i to ask his friend Martin for an account 
of the origins of French history. The sketch which follows 
is an example of his insatiable thirst for historical informa 
tion. The same spirit inspires a history of the Goths 
which he compiled from a manuscript by one Jordanis, 
discovered in a German monastery, and the abridged 
edition of the Decades of Flavius Blondus which he made 
during his Pontificate. 2 The most enterprising of his 
undertakings was his plan for a Cosmographia, or uni 
versal history and geography. One day when Cardinal 
Piccolomini happened to be detained in Rome by a bad 
attack of gout, a bookseller came to him with the request 
that he would revise and finish a certain sketch of the 
history of the Empire which he had in his possession. 3 
Thereupon ^Eneas began to collect material for a topo 
graphical history of the nations of Europe as he knew 
them. After he became Pope, a discussion between himself 
and Federico, Duke of Urbino, as to the borders of Asia 

1 Commeniarii, lib. vi. pp. 148-65. 2 Cf . p. 248, above. 

3 This was the Liber Augustalis of Benvenuto da Imola. Cf. 
dedicatory letter, 29 March 1458, in Freher, Ger. Rer. Script., ii. 



298 POPE PIUS II 

Minor took place in the course of a morning ride to Tivoli, 
and this led him to extend the scope of his work to include 
Asia. 1 Both Europa and Asia, as they have come down 
to posterity, are little more than preliminary collections 
of material, incomplete, unequal, and devoid of style. 2 
Nevertheless, this unfinished Cosmographia reveals ^Eneas 
as one extraordinarily well versed in the literature of his 
subject, and able to combine book-learning with observa 
tion. The strength of the work lies in its insistence upon 
the close connection between geography and history, a 
characteristic which distinguishes all ^Eneas s historical 
writings. His Europa formed the basis of the sixteenth- 
century cosmographies of Sebastian Franck and Sebastian 
Minister. 3 His Asia fired the imagination of a generation 
of explorers, and sent them forth to discover for them 
selves the lands which he had pictured. 

From a review of Pius n s historical writings, bewilder 
ing in their multiplicity, it is interesting to turn to the 
theory which inspired his activity. In common with 
other humanists he urged the study of history, on grounds 
that were entirely practical. " History is our guide to 
the days that are now, because it exhibits those that are 
past," he wrote in his treatise on Education, 4 and he is 
never tired of insisting upon the value of history in the 
training of a statesman. Wisdom, he says, springs from 
experience, and " the counsels of the aged are valued 
owing to the manifold experience which has made them 
wise." Yet one man s life is so short that human ex 
perience is limited to some seventy or eighty years, 
but the study of history may extend that experience 
" throughout the centuries that the world has been." 
In this sense it may be said that " history alone can give 
to the young the wisdom that is not theirs by nature." 5 

1 Commentarii, lib. v. p. 136. 

2 They are printed in Opera, pp. 281-471. 

3 Cf . Berg, ^Sneas Sylvius Piccolomini in seiner Bedeutung als Geograph, 

P- 33- 

4 Opera, p. 985. 5 Historia Friderici III, pp. 1-2. 



THE MAN OF LETTERS 299 

With this lofty conception before him, it was natural that 
^Eneas should approach his subject in the spirit of a 
scientific historian. The discovery of truth is his primary 
object; "not to deviate from the paths of truth," is the 
fundamental law which he dares not break. Nowhere 
does he show himself more thoroughly modern than in his 
attempt to lay down rules for estimating the value of 
evidence. " All that is written must not necessarily be 
believed," he tells us, " and only the canonical Scriptures 
have undoubted authority. In other cases one must 
discover who the author is, what life he led, to what sect 
he belonged, and what is his personal worth. It is also 
necessary to consider with what other accounts he agrees, 
and from which he differs, and whether what he says is 
probable, and in accordance with the time and place of 
which he treats." 1 In the light of these maxims he refuses 
to believe that the Bohemians once went about naked 
and lived on acorns, holding that the climate would make 
such customs impossible. He dismisses the theory that 
the original Bohemians were among the builders of the 
tower of Babel with the contemptuous remark that, if the 
Bohemians were so anxious to prove their ancient lineage, 
they might as well trace their ancestry to Noah s Ark, 
and to our first parents in Eden. 2 In answer to the 
suggestion that the name Vienna originally came from 
bienna, the city having twice resisted the arms of Julius 
Caesar, he points out that no record of Caesar having 
fought in Austria is to be found in the classical authorities. 3 
The same spirit shows itself in his treatment of the 
problems of his own day. He will lay the facts before 
his readers, suggest alternative explanations, and leave 
the ultimate verdict to posterity in a way that is 

1 Dialogus (Rome, 1475). This curious little work was written in 
1453, and dedicated by ^Eneas to Cardinal Carvajal. The author s 
journey through the realms of the dead with S. Bernardino as his guide 
forms a loose bond for a collection of essays on diverse subjects. 

2 Historia Bohemica, cap. 2-3 (Opera, p. 84). 

3 Historia Friderici III, p. 8. 



300 POPE PIUS II 

quite startlingly modern. Creighton has instanced his 
judgment on the career of Jeanne d Arc. Another 
example may be found in his description of a miracle of 
S. Bernardino which he witnessed when the Saint was 
preaching in the Piazza del Campo at Siena. " One 
Sunday, when a great crowd had collected to hear 
Bernardino, suddenly the face of the sky was changed, 
storm succeeded calm, and torrents of rain seemed im 
minent. His hearers had turned to fly, but the preacher 
bade them remain and be of good cheer. Baring his 
head, he offered prayers to God ; thereupon the clouds 
dispersed and the sky grew clear again, so that the people 
could listen in peace. This occurrence may certainly 
have been accidental, nevertheless all ascribed it to the 
prayers of the holy man." 1 ^Eneas had been profoundly 
moved by S. Bernardino s life and teaching, and he 
considered that he had " without doubt cured the sick 
and performed other miracles." Yet his critical spirit 
triumphed over the temptation to declare himself an eye 
witness of the Saint s supernatural powers, without 
showing himself aware that what he saw admitted of a 
natural interpretation. 

^neas strove, and strove successfully, to make himself 
a scientific historian, but he was a born artist. He 
possessed to the full the artist s sensitiveness to impression, 
and whether the impression came to him from a scene 
which he witnessed, a person with whom he came into 
contact, or a manuscript which fell into his hands, he 
could not fail to reproduce it as a picture. The true 
lyric note sounds in his description of that stupendous 
monument of a vanished civilisation Hadrian s Villa at 
Tivoli. " Walls once hung with rich tapestries and cloth 
of gold are now clothed with ivy ; thorns and brambles 
usurp the seats of purple-robed tribunes ; the sumptuous 
dwelling-places of queens have become the abode of 
serpents." 2 It rings out again when Pius tells how he 

1 Historia Friderici III, p. 175. 2 Commentarii, lib. v. p. 138. 






THE MAN OF LETTERS 301 

sat with his Cardinals on the summit of Monte Cavo, 
measuring with his eye the entire coast-line of the Papal 
States from Terracina to Monte Argentaro, marking the 
serpent-like course of the Tiber, looking down on the 
lakes of Nemi and Albano at his feet, framed in leafy woods 
and verdant pastures, and letting his eye travel over the 
broom-decked spaces of the Campagna until it rested at 
last upon Rome, offering herself in all her glory to his 
gaze. 1 

Other pictures which he gives us are illumined 
by flashes of half-kindly, half-malicious humour. He 
describes the festivities attending the reception of 
S. Andrew s head in Rome, and relates how he insisted 
that all the Cardinals taking part in the final procession 
to S. Peter s should go on foot. It was a great sight, he 
assures us, to see old men nurtured in luxury, who would 
not as a rule go a hundred yards on horseback, " accom 
plishing that day two miles on foot, through the mud 
and wet, carrying the weight of their priestly attire." 
Corpulence in many cases added to the load, but " love 
bore the burden," and the heated ecclesiastics struggled 
valiantly to their goal. 2 During one of his pilgrimages in 
Tuscany, Pius n visited the great Sienese sanctuary of 
Monte Oliveto and was profoundly impressed by the 
splendid buildings, the gardens and orchards, the cool 
groves and sparkling fountains which adorned this 
monastic paradise. The memory of his visit lives to-day 
owing to the characteristic remark with which he concludes 
his description. " Great are the pleasures of the monks 
who dwell there," says the inveterate worldling, " greater 
still are the pleasures of those who having seen all can go 
away." 3 

It is the same human touch, employed in a very 
different connection, which distinguishes Pius n s account 
of the death-bed of the great Hungarian leader, Hunyadi, 

1 Commentarii, lib. xi. p. 301. 

2 Ibid., lib. viii. p. 198. 3 Ibid., lib. x. p. 263. 



302 POPE PIUS II 

After telling of his exploits against the Turks, culminating 
in the brilliant relief of Belgrad, Pius writes : " When 
he knew that his last hour had come, he would not suffer 
the Body of the Lord to be brought to him, saying that 
it was not meet for a King to enter the house of a servant. 
Rising from his bed, he commanded that he should be 
carried into the Church, and there he made confession 
after the manner of Christians ; then, amid the ministra 
tions of the priests, he gave back his soul to God." 1 In 
this tender story Pius has left a finished sketch of 
Hunyadi s simple, heroic character. The scientific historian 
may aim at writing true history, but it needs an artist 
to present truth in a form which the human mind can 
realise and remember. 

Pius n s great biographer Voigt, who always regarded 
his hero as something of a charlatan, accuses him of sacri 
ficing truth to artistic effect, and of thus vitiating his work 
as an historian. Pius certainly realised that the permanent 
impression of the events which he recorded depended 
largely upon the way in which they were brought before 
his readers. " Great is eloquence," he once said, " and if 
truth be told, nothing so much rules the world." 2 A busy 
life often prevented him from giving the necessary finish 
to his writings, and his by no means faultless Latinity 
condemned him in the eyes of his contemporaries. Never 
theless, he paid deliberate attention . to style, making it 
his aim to write " as a clever man speaks when he lets him 
self go, and does not wish to show off either his taste or his 
learning." 3 He disliked copying documents verbatim, 
fearing that their uncouth form would spoil the artistic 
unity of his work, and preferring to summarise their 
contents in his own words. A comparison between the 
Commentaries and the collected editions of Pius n s Bulls 

1 Historia Fvidevici III, p. 465, and Europa, cap. i. 

z ^neas Silvius to Adam Moleyns, 29 May 1444 (Wolkan, Ep. 143 ; 
Opera, Ep. 65). 

3 Cf. Voigt, vol. ii. p. 257, and the interesting letter on style to 
Zbigniew, Bishop of Cracow, 27 Oct. 1453 (Opera, Ep. 402). 



THE MAN OF LETTERS 303 

and orations shows a tendency to improve even his own 
compositions when transcribing them in his narrative. In 
the same way, he followed the approved classical tradition 
of putting speeches of his own making into the mouths of 
historical personages, as a means of summing up the issues 
and sentiments of the moment. Yet all these character 
istics are questions of method rather than of principle, and 
they detract nothing from the truthfulness of the general 
impression which he conveys. If Pius failed at times to 
keep " the law of history," it is the politician and not the 
artist who must bear the blame. The politician was im 
pelled to write, at subsequent stages of his career, as the 
champion or the critic of the Conciliar movement, as the 
obsequious servant of Frederick in, or as the panegyrist 
of Pope Pius n. The artist, meanwhile, fought on the side 
of historical veracity, and painted a truthful picture almost 
against the will of the author. The sincerity of ^Eneas 
Silvius, in the sphere of letters as in practical life, will 
always remain more or less of a problem, and varied as 
are the solutions offered, certain obvious flaws in his 
character prevent the question from being answered en 
tirely in his favour. Nevertheless, his strength lies in the 
possession of qualities of mind and heart peculiarly fitted 
for dealing with men, both in the world around him and in 
his literary work. Sympathy and observation enabled 
him to read the characters of those who controlled the 
destinies of Europe and to sway their policy. Sympathy 
and observation enabled him to appreciate the men and 
movements of all ages, and to make them live again in the 
pages of his history. 



CHAPTER XIV 
PIUS II AND THE CRUSADE 

IN the history of Pius n s dealings with Italy and 
Europe the affairs of the East play a subordinate 
part. At times it seemed as if they were in danger of 
being thrust aside owing to the pressure of events nearer 
home. Nevertheless, they never for one moment lost 
their prominence in the Pope s mind. To him the Italian 
wars and the diplomatic struggle in France and the Empire 
were, from first to last, a means towards an end ; the 
ultimate object underlying every phase of the Papal policy 
was the marshalling of a united Christendom against 
the infidel. To the Princes of Europe, however, the means 
were vastly more important than the end. The crusading 
cause demanded a prompt settlement of the political 
problems of the day in order that Europe might be free to 
wage war on the Turk. But the Princes, where their 
personal interests were involved, cared little about the 
promptitude of the settlement, and a great deal about its 
terms. Therefore Europe wasted itself in petty warfare 
and interminable negotiations, while the Turks pursued 
their victorious course with a steadiness that knew no 
obstacle. 

Before the opening of the Congress of Mantua the news 
reached Rome that Servia had become a Turkish province, 
and in the summer of 1459, Semendria, the last Servian 
stronghold on the Danube, was treacherously sold to the 
Turk by its guardian, Stephan, son of the King of Bosnia. 
" This event," says Pius, " was as great a blow to the hearts 



304 



PIUS II AND THE CRUSADE 305 

of the Hungarians as the loss of Constantinople." l Mean 
while a similar fate was overhanging Bosnia. This un 
happy country was hampered in its struggle for existence 
by dynastic quarrels and religious dissension. It was 
looked upon with suspicion by the Western Church as a 
stronghold of the ancient Manichean heresy, 2 and it had long 
wavered between allegiance to the King of Hungary and 
acceptance of the Turkish yoke. The efforts of Carvajal 
at last prompted Bosnia to recognise the suzerainty of 
Hungary, and when young Stephan succeeded to his father s 
throne in 1461, he belied the evil reputation which he had 
earned at Semendria by definitely taking his stand upon 
the side of Catholic Europe. In November 1462 he sent an 
embassy to Rome, seeking Papal recognition as a Christian 
monarch, and begging for aid against the Turk. He showed, 
convincingly enough, that Bosnia would be but the stepping- 
stone to further inroads. The storm would break upon 
his unhappy kingdom, but Hungary and the Venetian 
dominions would soon experience its terrors, and Italy 
itself would not long remain undisturbed. 3 Pius at once 
promised all the help in his power, and sent a legate to 
plead Stephan s cause with Hungary and Venice. But 
while Europe negotiated the Turk acted. In May 1463, 
before any of the Pope s schemes could bear fruit, the 
Sultan descended upon Bosnia. The secret support of 
the Manichees gave him an easy entry into the country, 
and in a few brief weeks Stephan was taken and beheaded, 
while his wife and mother fled with some faithful followers 
to Rome. Thus one more province was lost to Christendom 
through the dilatoriness and apathy of the Christian powers. 
Well might Pius reply to the repeated appeals of Carvajal : 
" We know how you should be equipped for a success 
ful continuation of your work. We know what is neces 
sary for the health of Christendom. But, beloved son, 

1 Commentarii, lib. iii. p. 64. 

2 Cf. Ibid., p. 63. 

3 Ibid., lib. xi. p. 298. 
20 



306 POPE PIUS II 

we can do no more ; our powers lag far behind our 
desires." x 

The same years saw the overthrow of the last remnant 
of the Palseologian Empire. After the fall of Constanti 
nople, the Emperor s two brothers, Demetrius and Thomas, 
were permitted to continue as despots of the Morea, on 
condition of paying tribute to the Sultan. The brothers 
maintained separate courts, Thomas residing at Patras 
and Demetrius at Mistra, and, in the opinion of a contem 
porary, their mutual hatred was such that " each would 
gladly have devoured the other s heart." 2 Thomas was so 
far superior to his brother that he was not content to acqui 
esce tamely in whatever treatment the Sultan might choose 
to mete out to him. When his overlord calmly took posses 
sion of a large slice of his territory, he appealed for help 
to the Congress of Mantua. Three hundred Italians were 
sent to his aid, a hundred of whom were paid and equipped 
by the Duchess of Milan. These troops took part in 
Thomas s vain attempt to storm Patras in the autumn of 
1459, but they were powerless to resist the Sultan s ven 
geance. Not many months later the Morea passed directly 
beneath the Turkish yoke. Thomas fled to Rome, and 
Demetrius retired with a pension to Adrianople, while 
his daughter entered Mahomet n s harem. 

In September 1461 the Venetians brought news of the 
fall of Sinope and, with it, the little Empire of Trebizond 
upon the shores of the Black Sea. Only in Albania the 
bold adventurer Scanderbeg still maintained his inde 
pendence, and even he, despairing of help from Europe, 
was forced to sign a disadvantageous truce with the Sultan. 
In 1462 Mahomet n launched a fleet in the ^Egean which 
was destined to overthrow the rule of the Knights of 
S. John at Rhodes. The Knights succeeded in holding 
their own, but the Genoese Government was expelled from 
Lesbos with ruthless violence, while some Venetian ships 

1 Pius ii to Carvajal, n June 1459. Cf. Voigt, vol. iii. p. 54. 

2 Cf. Voigt, vol. iii. p. 55. 






PIUS II AND THE CRUSADE 307 

stood near at hand not daring to succour their compatriots 
for fear of embroiling their own Republic with the all- 
powerful Turk. To Pius n, the fall of historic Lesbos, the 
home of Sappho and of Alcaeus, seemed a bitter tragedy. 
His sorrow found expression in the sketch of its history 
which he gives in the Commentaries. Here the humanist 
Pope paints the vanished glories of Lesbos " in order that 
we may better understand our loss, and may perhaps be 
ashamed of our slothfulness, and may go forth with more 
willing hearts against the enemies of our Faith." 1 

Meanwhile the tale of disaster in the East was repeatedly 
brought home to Italy by the arrival of victims of the 
Turkish onslaught, seeking refuge and imploring aid. As 
with beggars of a humbler kind, it was difficult to distinguish 
genuine cases from impostors. Many a needy adventurer 
discovered that a picturesque costume, a sensational story, 
and a high-sounding Oriental title could be turned to con 
siderable profit in Western Europe. Among the earliest 
of these somewhat shady suppliants was one Moses Giblet, 
Archdeacon of Antioch, who visited the Pope at Siena in 
April 1460, bearing letters from the Patriarchs of Jerusalem, 
Antioch, and Alexandria, in which they professed their 
obedience to the Western Church and besought Papal 
protection. Giblet came of a distinguished Syrian family, 
and Pius n found him " well versed in Greek and Syrian 
literature." 2 Yet the bare record of the incident in the 
Commentaries seems to indicate that the Pope regarded it 
with more suspicion than satisfaction, and it was entirely 
without practical result. In December of the same year 
an embassy on a far more magnificent scale appeared in 
Rome. The company, we learn, included envoys from 
" David, Emperor of Trebizond ; George, King of Persia ; 
the King of Mesopotamia ; Gorgora, Duke of Greater Iberia ; 
and Urtebecus, Lord of Armenia Minor. . . . These legates 
were so strange in manners and dress that they were a 
cause of astonishment to all. Wherever they went they 

1 Commentarii, lib. x. p. 244. 2 Ibid., lib. iv. p. 103. 



308 POPE PIUS II 

drew the gaze of the people, and a crowd of boys followed 
them in the streets." 1 Some of the party were tonsured 
like monks, and the Mesopotamian envoy s hea.d was 
clean shaven except for a waving tuft of hair on his crown. 
They possessed voracious appetites, and were said to con 
sume twenty pounds of meat apiece every day. " If our 
contest were over a banquet," said the Pope to Campano, 
" we should be certain of victory with these men as our 
allies." 2 These strange visitors were marshalled by a 
Franciscan, Lodovico of Bologna, who had been sent on 
a mission to the East some years before. The embassy 
was to all appearance genuine. It had visited Frederick in 
on the way through Germany, and had been received with 
every mark of honour by the Venetian Republic. Its 
proposals, moreover, were as splendid as its equipment. 
The envoys offered, in the name of their respective masters, 
to bring an army of 120,000 men into the field with which 
to attack the Turk from Asia, on condition that the powers 
of Europe attacked with an equal force from the West. 
Pius could not fall short of Venice in his hospitality. He 
entertained the envoys in Rome, and advised them to 
visit the Courts of Burgundy and France, in order to ex 
pound their proposals and solicit aid. He even went so 
far as to pay the expenses of their journey ; but he turned 
a deaf ear to Lodovico s request that he should be made 
Patriarch of the Eastern Christians professing the Roman 
obedience. The envoys arrived in France in time to see 
the funeral of Charles vn and the coronation of Louis xi, 
and they were duly impressed by the sumptuous brilliancy 
which distinguished the Burgundian Court. " Behold, we 
come like wise men from the East to the star which we have 
seen in the West," said the spokesman of the party to 
Duke Philip. 3 Nevertheless, in neither place did they evoke 
enthusiasm for their cause or obtain any material aid, and 
in the meantime doubts as to their character began to arise 

1 Commentarii, lib. v. p. 127. 2 Campano, Vita Pii II. 

3 Pii ii, Epistolae (Opera, Ep. 380, p. 855). 



PIUS II AND THE CRUSADE 309 

in Rome. Contrary to the Pope s express orders, Lodovico 
had freely styled himself Patriarch during his mission, and 
had used the title to extort money from the faithful. Could 
it be that he was a liar and a deceiver, that his companions 
were masquer aders and their letters forgeries ? Pius n 
could not bring himself to believe that the embassy was 
imposturous, and although its members received a luke 
warm welcome on their return to Rome, they were allowed 
to depart for Venice without open scandal. Soon after 
wards the Pope s eyes were opened to the true nature of 
the embassy by the news that Lodovico had obtained 
consecration as Patriarch from some unsuspecting Bishops. 
Pius immediately gave orders for Lodovico s arrest ; but 
before they could be put into effect, the charlatan had 
disappeared, and nothing more was heard of him or of his 
companions. From that time forward the Pope preserved 
a deep-rooted suspicion of " Orientals and those coming 
from beyond the seas, especially when they are needy and 
of obscure fame." 1 

The year 1461 brought two more suppliants to the feet 
of the Holy Father. Neither their identity nor their good 
faith could be called in question, yet they were as necessitous 
as their forerunners, and they made even larger demands 
upon the Papal bounty. On 15 October 1461 a beautiful 
and distressed lady arrived at the Vatican and besought 
Pius ii for aid. This was Charlotte of Lusignan, Queen of 
Cyprus, whose kingdom had been usurped by her illegitimate 
brother James, acting in concert with the Turk. Queen 
Charlotte was married to Louis, son of the Duke of Savoy, 
and he, at this moment, was closely besieged in the fortress 
of Cerina by the forces of the usurper. The plucky girl 
had been stirred to action by Louis s misfortune, and had 

1 Commentarii, lib. viii. p. 192. It was the reception accorded to the 
envoys in Venice that first led the Pope to trust them, " quae res fecit 
ut veri oratores crederentur, propter commercium quod Veneti cum 
Orientalibus habent." A warning from the Doge enabled Lodovico to 
escape arrest at the last. Could it be that the Venetian Republic was a 
party to the fraud ? 



3io 



POPE PIUS II 



come alone to Western Europe in order to seek aid for her 
self and her husband. Pius considered that the responsi 
bility of providing for her lay with Savoy, and he even 
sent Cardinal Estouteville to Ostia to dissuade Charlotte 
from coming to Rome. x But when she persisted, and actually 
made her appearance at the Vatican, her bright eyes and 
winning speech proved too much for the Pope s obduracy. 
He treated her with marked kindness, and promised to 
pay the expenses of her journey to Savoy. After visiting 
the sights of Rome, Charlotte departed on her quest with 
an escort of fifty horse, and with letters of recommenda 
tion to the various cities through which she would pass. 
Unfortunately for her cause, the Duke of Savoy was less soft 
hearted than the Pope. He complained loudly that Cyprus 
would exhaust Savoy with its perpetual demands for men 
and money, and he even went so far as to say that no honest 
young woman would leave her husband to make voyages 
to the West. 2 Sad at heart, Charlotte abandoned further 
effort, and returned by way of Mantua and Venice to Rhodes. 
She never regained her lost kingdom, and in a few years 
time she too came to swell the band of refugees from the 
East in Rome. 

One day in Lent 1461 the fugitive Thomas Palaeologus 
arrived in Rome with his wife and four children. Common 
opinion pronounced him to be a fine man, grave yet pleasing 
in expression, with good manners and princely bearing. 
He brought with him seventy horses, of which all but three 
were borrowed, and he seemed entirely without resources. 3 
Pius was full of sympathy for the exile, and gave him lodgings 
at Santo Spirito, with a pension of three hundred ducats 
a month, to which the Cardinals added two hundred ducats. 4 
After a few vain attempts to find allies who would help 

1 Cf . Pastor, vol. iii. p. 253, quoting from the dispatches of the Mantuan 
ambassador in Rome. 

2 Commentarii, lib. vii. p. 180. 

8 Cf. Bartolomeo Bonatto to Barbara of Mantua, 9 March 1461 (Pastor, 
vol. iii. Appendix 43, from the Gonzaga Archives ). 
4 Commentarii, lib. v. p. 130, 



PIUS II AND THE CRUSADE 311 

him to recover his throne, the ex-despot resigned himself 
to his fate, and spent the remainder of his days in Rome. 
The only return which he could make to the Pope for his 
hospitality was to present him with the jewels, embroidery, 
and other treasures which he had brought from the East. 
Chief among these was the sacred relic of S. Andrew s head, 
the reception of which in Rome gave occasion for the most 
splendid festival of Pius n s Pontificate. It is impossible 
to read Pius s own account of the great event without 
realising that he felt it to be the supreme moment of his 
life. To say that he and his contemporaries regarded it 
as a mere excuse for gorgeous ceremonial is to be blind to 
the strength of the mediaeval spirit. Here at the very 
shrine of the Renaissance, at a time when the modern 
world was revelling in its new-born strength, the whole 
city scholars and artists, soldiers and courtiers, Pope and 
populace abandoned itself in a passion of emotion to the 
reception of this precious relic. The genius of the Re 
naissance spent itself in giving splendour to the occasion, 
but the spirit which inspired the festivities was bred of 
the love and worship of the Middle Ages. 

The head of S. Andrew had hitherto been preserved 
at Patras, from whence it had been taken by Thomas 
Palaeologus to save it from the infidel. The Pope," we 
read, " was much grieved at the exile of the sacred head. 
But as it could not easily be restored to its resting-place, 
he knew no worthier refuge for it than Rome, by the bones 
of its brother S. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and under 
the protection of the Holy See, the Ark of the Faith." 1 
Cardinal Oliva went to meet the relic at Ancona and to 
place it in safe custody at Narni, until such time as it 
could be received in Rome with due honour. Not until 
the spring of 1462 did a favourable opportunity arise. 
Then, on Palm Sunday, the head was brought by three 
Cardinals from Narni to the Ponte Molle, outside the walls 

1 Commentarii, lib. viii. pp. 192-202, for the whole ceremony of the 
reception of S. Andrew s head. 



3 i2 POPE PIUS II 

of Rome. A great stage was erected in the adjoining 
meadows, and here the Pope came in state to welcome 
the relic. This was on Monday in Holy Week, and those 
who walked in the Papal procession bore the palm 
branches which they had received the day before at the 
Palm-Sunday Mass. It was a radiant April morning, 
and the white-robed procession shone out with dazzling 
brightness on the green grass. As the Pope mounted the 
stage, Cardinal Bessarion advanced from the other side, 
and taking the sacred head from its casket, " gave it, 
weeping, to the weeping Pope." Pale with emotion, Pius 
threw himself on his knees and, with bowed head and 
trembling voice, addressed a prayer to the new-comer : 
" Thou art come at last, most sacred and adored head of 
the Holy Apostle, driven from thy dwelling by the fury 
of the Turk. An exile, thou fliest to thy brother, the 
Prince of the Apostles. Thy brother will not fail thee, 
but will restore thee to thy home with glory. If God 
will, it shall be said one day, O happy exile, to have 
obtained such aid. Meanwhile, thou shalt tarry for a 
while with thy brother and share his honour." Naively 
literal as the words sound, they fell on sympathetic ears, 
and when the Pope had finished speaking there was not 
a dry eye among the whole company. One after the 
other the weeping clergy advanced to kiss the relic, and 
then, at the Pope s command, all broke forth in a glad 
Te Deum until the meadows re-echoed to the sound. 

The head was placed for the night upon the altar of 
S. Maria del Popolo, and the next day it was carried in 
procession to its final resting-place at S. Peter s. True 
April weather prevailed, and all through the night the 
rain fell in torrents. It was feared that the ceremonies 
of the morrow would be interrupted, and Pius was dis 
tressed at the thought of the disappointment of the crowds 
who had come to Rome for the occasion. Great was his 
delight when the storm ceased at dawn, and the sun rose 
with new splendour. The change, he said, was due to 






PIUS II AND THE CRUSADE 313 

the prayers of S. Andrew, and even as he said it, the 
following distich " rushed into his mind " : 

"Nocte pluit tota redeunt spectacula mane. 
Divisum imperium cum Jove Caesar habet." 1 

In the days of the Renaissance, there was nothing in 
congruous in this juxtaposition of S. Andrew and 
Jupiter. Heathen gods and Christian saints held " divided 
Empire " over the humanist Pope. 

The streets between S. Maria del Popolo and the 
Vatican were decorated with an ingenuity and a magni 
ficence that were only surpassed in the decorations at 
Viterbo a few weeks later. On this occasion, also, the 
work of Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia outshone all others. 
His palace reminded the Pope of the Emperor Nero s 
famous golden house, and he had even decorated the 
palaces of his neighbours, so that the entire Piazza seemed 
a paradise of sight and sound. When at last the Pope 
made his appearance in the Piazza, of S. Peter s, borne 
in a golden litter beneath a sumptuous baldacchino, and 
carrying in his hands the sacred head, " a great cry arose 
like the roar of many waters." At the top of the marble 
steps he turned to bless the multitude and to exhibit the 
relic, before placing it with the bones of S. Peter and 
S. Paul in the centre of the basilica. Inside S. Peter s, 
Bessarion made an oration which gained scant attention 
from his wearied hearers. Then, after a brief reply from 
the Pope and a few prayers, the company dispersed the 
ceremonies of the great day were over. Pius subsequently 
built the beautiful chapel of S. Andrew to contain the 
relic, and here, at his desire, his own body was placed. 
In the building of the new S. Peter s the chapel of S. 
Andrew was demolished, but the great statue of the saint 
at the south-west corner of the dome still guards the place 
where the exile from Patras found its last home. 

1 " It rains at night ; in the morning all the pageants return. Caesar 
holds divided Empire with Jupiter." 



3 i4 POPE PIUS II 

Meanwhile the years slipped by, each bringing a 
fresh tale of disaster from the East, and still no practical 
effect had been given to the Mantuan programme. To 
judge from the ill-success which attended the attempt 
to levy Turkish tithes, a Crusade which depended for its 
finance upon the response made to the Mantuan decrees 
had a gloomy future before it. Immediately after the 
close of the Congress collectors armed with Papal letters 
were dispatched throughout Europe to England, to the 
Spanish kingdoms, to Norway, to Sweden, and even to 
semi-barbarous Lithuania. Everywhere their demands 
met with blank indifference, if not with actual hostility. 
Borso d Este, who had actually signed the decrees 
authorising the levy, refused to allow tithes to be collected 
in his dominions. 1 The very Cardinals grumbled and 
raised objections when they were asked for their con 
tribution. The point of view expressed by the chronicler 
of Bologna is only too typical of the attitude of Christendom 
towards the Pope s crusading policy. In Lent 1460, he 
tells us, the Papal letters were read in the Church of 
S. Petronio, and every one who refused to pay his tenth 
or his thirtieth was denied Confession and Communion. 
But the sole result was that " those who did not wish to 
pay so heavy a tax ceased to confess or communicate. . . . 
The Pope said he wanted the money to make war on the 
Turk; but this was not true, as he intended nothing of 
the sort. It was an act of robbery, so take heed before 
you pay your share." 2 

The plans framed at Mantua were clearly unworkable. 
If the Pope still persisted, he must devise fresh schemes, 
and must himself put them into effect. Thrown thus 
upon his own resources, Pius n turned first to his own 
peculiar weapon to the weapon of persuasion, w r hich he 
had wielded so often and so successfully in bygone years. 

1 Cf. letter of Pius n to Duke Borso, i April 1460 (Pastor, vol. iii. 
Appendix 39, from Archivio Secreto del Vaticano). 

8 Cronica di Bologna (Muratori, Her. Ital. Script., xviii. pp. 732-3). 



PIUS II AND THE CRUSADE 315 

In the autumn of 1461 he composed his famous letter to 
the Sultan, in which he sought to convert the Turkish 
monarch, and to turn him from an enemy into an obedient 
and honoured son of the Church. The treatise is a 
masterpiece of eloquence and learning. In lucid terms, 
Pius contrasted the teaching of Christ with that of the 
Koran, and set forward the superiority of Christian 
civilisation. He reminded the Sultan of earlier converts, 
such as Constantine and Clovis, whose baptism had won 
whole nations for the Catholic Church. He invited him 
to come like Pepin and Charlemagne to the aid of the 
Pope, and to receive, as they had, new benefits at his 
hands. He rose to heights of impassioned eloquence in 
depicting the era of universal prosperity which would 
dawn upon the Sultan s acceptance of Christianity. " O 
what a fullness of peace it would be ! What exultation 
among Christian people, what joy in the whole earth ! 
The Golden Age of Augustus, sung by the poets, would 
return. The leopard would lie down with the lamb, the 
calf with the lion. Swords would be turned into pruning- 
hooks . . . the wilderness would blossom, the earth 
would resound with the chaunting of monks. . . . O how 
great would be your joy if you were the means of bringing 
so many sheep into the fold of the Eternal Shepherd, 
if you were the author of peace and welfare among 
men." 1 

The letter was widely read, and the numerous forgeries 
which purported to continue the correspondence are 
proof of the impression which it made. Unfortunately, 
there is no indication of the effect which it produced on 
Mahomet n. The cultured patron of scholars and artists 
must doubtless have appreciated the literary value of the 
treatise, but, as far as we know, the picture of that half- 
pagan, half-Christian Utopia painted for him by Pius n 
left him unmoved. In the following year Pius sought 
other and sterner weapons. Summoning six of the 

1 Ep. 396 (Opera, pp. 872-904) and elsewhere, 



316 POPE PIUS II 

Cardinals to his presence, he declared to them his in 
tention of going in person upon a Crusade. 

The programme which Pius n unfolded to the startled 
Cardinals was the fruit of many a sleepless night, when he 
lay tossing from side to side, his old blood boiling at the 
shameful thought that nothing had been done in defence 
of Christendom. Mature reflection impelled him to the 
conclusion that the only way of stirring sleeping Europe 
into action was to go himself against the Turks. All doubts 
as to the sincerity of his purpose would thus be dissipated, 
and, old and ill as he was, he could at least inspire others by 
his example. The Duke of Burgundy had vowed to go on 
a Crusade if another Prince would consent to accompany 
him. He would be forced to keep his promise, and would 
bring others in his train. The noise of our resolve will 
resound through Christendom like a thunder-clap, rousing 
the faithful to the defence of religion." l The new weapon 
was, in fact, not extraordinarily unlike the old. Letters 
and orations had failed to persuade, therefore the Pope 
had recourse to drama. If the sight of the Head 
of Christendom preparing to lay down his life for the 
flock did not dispel the clouds of selfishness and 
apathy, then indeed Europe must be impervious to per 
suasion, unable to be touched by any noble and generous 
appeal. 

The Cardinals pronounced the Pope s plan to be worthy 
of the Vicar of Christ, although numerous difficulties at 
once occurred to them which might wreck the whole under 
taking. Pius, however, had the details at his finger-ends, 
and was ready with an answer to all their objections. The 
Crusade, as he freely acknowledged, depended for its success 
upon the co-operation of Venice, who alone could supply 
a fleet to transport the Crusaders to the East. He would 
write confidentially to the Doge on the subject, and on 
receiving a favourable reply, would send embassies to 
France and Burgundy, asking aid of the one, and calling 

1 Commentarii, lib. vii. p. 191, 



PIUS II AND THE CRUSADE 317 

on the other to fulfil his vow. 1 The Pope, with Hungary 
and Venice, supported by the Duke of Burgundy in person, 
and receiving aid from France, had at least reasonable 
hope of victory. Meanwhile, a five years truce must be 
proclaimed throughout Europe, and money must be raised 
by means of subsidies from the clergy and the sale of 
indulgences to the laity. 

The Venetian Republic sent a somewhat vague reply 
to the Pope s letter, 2 but it was sufficiently favourable to 
justify the departure of the Bishop of Ferrara upon a 
mission to France and Burgundy. Louis xi gave him 
little encouragement. He was inclined to treat the whole 
matter as a pretext for drawing attention away from the 
Neapolitan war, and declared that during the next year 
he would be fully occupied in helping to restore Henry vi 
to the throne of England. " I will give you four years 
for that business," was the Bishop s pertinent rejoinder. 3 
The Pope s proposals were more favourably received at 
the Burgundian Court. Duke Philip was just recovering 
from a dangerous illness, and he was awed by the thought 
that death had all but overtaken him with his crusading 
vow still unfulfilled. The Bishop set out on his return 
journey with the assurance that a Burgundian embassy, 
provided with the fullest instructions, would shortly follow 
him across the Alps. 

In the meantime, two events had occurred in Italy 
which were calculated to serve the cause of the Crusade. 
The Doge, Prospero Malipiero, a persistent advocate of 
peace with the Turk, died on 5 May 1462 and was suc 
ceeded by Cristoforo Moro. The same month saw the dis 
covery of the alum mountains at Tolfa, a find as valuable 
as it was unexpected, which seemed to augur success for 
the Pope s enterprise. 4 The discoverer was a certain 

1 Pius u s letter to the Doge is given in Epistolae, No. 44, 8 March 
1461 (i.e. 1462) (ed. Mediol.). 

2 Cf . Pastor, iii. p. 311. 8 Commentarii, lib. ix. p. 221. 
Cf. Commentarii, lib. vii. pp. 185-6. 



POPE PIUS II 

Giovanni de Castro, who had learned the properties of alum 
as manager of some large dye-works in Constantinople. 
On the Turkish occupation he had lost his post, and having 
known ^Eneas Silvius at Basel, he had come to Rome to 
seek shelter and employment with his former acquaintance. 
One day, as he walked among the barren hills near Civita 
vecchia, he noticed a peculiar herb which he had often 
seen on the alum mountains of Asia Minor. He picked up 
some white stones lying near, and found that they had a 
saltish taste ; and on baking them, he saw that they were 
really alum. Almost beside himself with joy, he sought 
the Pope s presence. " To-day," he cried, " I bring you 
victory over the Turk." Every year, as Giovanni ex 
plained, the Turk received some three hundred thousand 
ducats from Christendom for alum. Now he had found 
seven mountains full of the precious substance, with all 
advantages for working it, and an excellent harbour near 
at hand. The Pope could supply alum to the whole of 
Europe, and his profits would inflict a double injury 
upon the Turks, in depriving them of a valuable monopoly, 
and in furnishing Crusaders with the sinews of war. At 
first Pius could not believe the good news, but experts 
from Genoa pronounced the Tolfa alum to be not only 
genuine but of excellent quality. A Company was formed 
at once, and Pius issued a Bull exhorting all Christians to 
buy alum only from him. 1 Castro s discovery brought an 
income of a hundred thousand ducats to the Papacy, and 
the industry which he founded continues to this day. 

The year 1463 was not without promise for the Crusade. 
The fall of Bosnia seemed at last to have convinced Venice 
of the danger of delay, and the Republic begged leave of 
the Pope to collect the Turkish tithes throughout her 
dominions. In July Bessarion took up his residence in 
Venice as legate a later e* He found active preparations 

1 Raynaldus, 1463, No. 86, 7 April 1463. 

2 Cf. Pastor, iii. p. 318. Sanudo says that Bessarion arrived in 
August. 



PIUS II AND THE CRUSADE 319 

in progress both by land and sea, and by the end of the 
month he was able to report that war with the Turk had 
been declared. Meanwhile a Franciscan friar preached 
the Crusade upon the Piazza, and inside S. Marco stood a 
massive iron chest to receive the offerings of the faithful. 1 
In Hungary, too, the long quarrel between the Emperor 
and Matthias Corvinus w r as brought to an end, and the 
peace for which Carvajal had laboured so unremittingly 
was signed at Neustadt on 24 July. An offensive alliance 
between Hungary and Venice followed two months later. 
The two powers most nearly affected by the Turk were at 
length uniting to give him battle. 

After three months villegiatum at Tivoli, Pius returned 
to Rome on 9 September, in order to welcome the much- 
desired embassy from Burgundy. The visit of the Bur- 
gundians was made the occasion for a meeting of Italian 
envoys in Rome, to discuss ways and means of promoting 
the Crusade. As usual, many eloquent orations were 
made, and when the Burgundian representative announced 
that his master would start for the East at the head of 
six thousand men in the following spring, no one could say 
enough in the Duke s praise. 2 But when the Pope called 
on the Italians to follow the example of Burgundy and to 
obey the Mantuan decrees, matters were again brought to 
a standstill. All approved as private persons of the levy of 
tithes ; none save the Venetians had power as ambassadors 
to promise contributions. Nothing could be done until 
the envoys had been to consult their respective Govern 
ments. While they went, Pius tried to turn the unwelcome 
delay to good account by winning over his chief opponents 
among the Cardinals. The oration which he made to the 
Sacred College on this occasion 3 contains the fullest 
exposition of his views and policy with regard to the 
Crusade. 

1 Sanudo, Vitae Ducum Venetorum (Muratori, xxii. p. 1174). 

2 Commentarii, lib. xii. p. 332. 

3 Mansi, Orationes, ii. p. 68 ; Commentarii, lib. xii. pp. 336-41. 



320 POPE PIUS II 

Five years, he said, had passed since his accession, yet 
not until the present time had the state of Italy permitted 
of anything being done in defence of Christendom. From 
the first the Crusade had been his ultimate object. " We 
fought for Christ when we defended Ferrante. We waged 
war on the Turk when we smote the territories of Sigis- 
mondo." Now at last God had sent peace, and the time 
had come to strike directly at the enemies of the Church. 
Now was the opportunity for the Cardinals to prove the 
reality of their devotion, and, disregarding difficulties and 
discomforts, to follow Christ s Vicar to war. It was 
useless to advise staying at home and sending money to 
Hungary for the prosecution of the Crusade. The Papacy 
no longer had the power of raising money. " Our condition 
is that of bankers who have lost their credit : no one 
believes in us; the priesthood is despised." Thus the first 
step was to restore the reputation of the Papacy, and this 
could best be done by the means originally employed to 
build up its greatness. " Abstinence, chastity, zeal for 
the faith, contempt of death, desire for martyrdom," these 
had once made the Roman Church mistress of the world. 
Now was the moment to prove that these virtues were not 
yet dead, and to rekindle enthusiasm for the Church by a 
conspicuous example of nobility in its leaders. " The 
call to go has met with no response ; perhaps men will attend 
better to Come. . . . We do not go to fight. We will 
imitate Moses, who prayed on the mountain while Israel 
fought against Amalek. On the ship s prow or on the 
mountain-top, having before our eyes the Holy Eucharist 
that is, our Lord Jesus Christ we will entreat of Him 
victory for our soldiers in battle. . . . For God s sake we 
leave our see and the Roman Church, committing our 
grey hairs and our feeble body to His mercy. He will not 
forget us, and if He does not grant us safe return, He will 
receive us into heaven, and will preserve His see of Rome 
and His Bride the Church in safety." 

The words came from the depth of the Pope s heart, 






PIUS II AND THE CRUSADE 321 

and, like all outbursts of genuine enthusiasm, they proved 
irresistibly infectious. Some of the Cardinals, such as 
the vicious and scheming Bishop of Arras, remained 
unmoved, but the majority declared themselves ready to 
throw in their lot with the Pope. Carvajal, whose task 
in Hungary had at times been made more difficult by the 
Pope s timid diplomacy, was now finally convinced of his 
sincerity. " Until to-day," he exclaimed, " I have thought 
you a man. Now I believe you to be an angel. You have 
won me to your opinion. May God be with your enter 
prise. I will be your companion, and by sea and by land 
I will be ever at your side. Should your way lead through 
the flames I would still follow you, for you are treading 
the straight path to heaven." 1 

During these busy weeks of negotiation and preparation 
Pius was, indeed, seen at his best. Now that the decisive step 
was taken, the weaker elements of his character seemed to 
fall from him like a cast-off garment, while his high courage, 
boundless energy, and immense capacity for detail called 
forth the admiration of all who came in contact with him. 
Day and night he laboured for the cause, organising, con 
triving, entreating, censuring, and although results for 
the most part fell short of his expectations, his persistence 
was such that almost every one concerned found himself 
pledged to do considerably more than he had intended. 
A commission of Cardinals was appointed to collect the 
necessary funds, while the Pope s private treasurer, 
Niccolo Piccolomini, had charge of a special Crusade 
account-book, in which all details of receipt and ex 
penditure were recorded. The discovery of this book, 
bound in red morocco, and stamped with the Papal arms, 
goes far to disprove the charges of mismanagement and 
neglect which have been freely raised against Pius n s 
preparations for war. 2 

1 Commentarii, lib. xii. p. 341. 

2 Cf. Pastor, iii. p. 336. The account-book is preserved in the Archivio 
di Stato, Rome. 

21 



322 POPE PIUS II 

As the autumn advanced the plague broke out in Rome 
with unusual severity. Many fled the city, but Pius remained 
at his post. Among his chief cares was the creation of a 
fleet, and he himself undertook to provide three galleys as 
well as several smaller vessels. Seven Cardinals promised 
to equip a galley apiece, and others were expected from 
various Italian powers. 1 The Pope s dearest wish was to 
obtain the services of Francesco Sforza as leader of the 
Papal forces. The condottiere Duke, however, was no 
enthusiast. He was prepared to send a contingent to the 
East which would satisfy the claims of friendship and be 
worthy of his dignity, but not even for Pius n would he 
jeopardise his throne in order to go on an expedition which 
he regarded as fantastic and chimerical. His refusal was 
a bitter disappointment to Pius. 2 No less disheartening 
was the apathy of Siena, who after endless delay offered 
the miserly sum of 3000 ducats as her contribution to the 
Crusade. On the Pope s remonstrance the contribution 
was raised to 10,000 ducats, which Pius accepted with 
gratitude, for love of his country, he tells us, and not 
because he thought it adequate. Meanwhile the repre 
sentatives of the Italian powers returned to Rome with 
their answers. Genoa, Savoy, and Montferrat vouchsafed 
no reply, but the other States consented to abide by the 
Mantuan decrees. Florence said that she could do nothing 
at the moment, for fear of injuring the numerous Florentine 
merchants living in Constantinople ; but her envoy re 
ported that steps were being taken to remove the merchants 
and their goods to a place of safety and that, when this was 
accomplished, Florence would be ready to take her proper 
share in the enterprise. 3 On 19 October an offensive 
alliance against the Turk was signed by the Pope, Venice, 
and Burgundy, and three days later the Bull Ezechielis, 

1 Cf. Sanudo (Muratori, xxii. 1178). 

2 The Pope s letter to Sforza is given in Mansi, iii. p. 103 ; Sforza s 
answer in Opera, Ep. 392. 

3 Commentarii, lib. xii. p. 342. 



PIUS II AND THE CRUSADE 323 

publishing the Crusade, was read in a public Consistory. 1 
The Romans at once raised a protest, fearing the loss they 
would incur by the Pope s departure, and they were only 
partially reassured by the promise that the chief officials 
of the Curia should remain at their posts. Nevertheless, 
the reading of the Bull produced a profound impression. 
Many who had been inclined to treat the whole enterprise 
as a fantasy began to see that the Crusade might prove 
both heroic and successful. All depended on the effective 
co-operation of the Pope and Burgundy. " May God, 
whose cause is at stake, grant long life to the Pope and the 
Duke," 2 wrote the Milanese ambassador at the conclusion 
of his report on the proceedings. During the Consistory 
Pius was suffering so acutely from gout in the feet that he 
could hardly manage to hide his anguish, and directly it 
was over he retired to bed. Yet he was happy in the midst 
of his pain, because he realised that his efforts had borne 
fruit at last the Crusade was being taken seriously. 

The Bull Ezechielis was published throughout Europe, 
and it roused instant support from the lower classes. In 
Germany, the princes were content to answer the Papal 
legates with fair words, but " the people forsook their 
wagons and ploughs and hastened to Rome to take arms 
against the Turk." 3 Meanwhile everything in the political 
situation seemed to pave the way for departure. Success 
attended the Venetians in the East. The submission of 
Malatesta terminated the long struggle in the March. 
The death of the Prince of Taranto left Ferrante in un 
disputed possession of practically the whole kingdom of 
Naples. Above all, the Venetian Republic seemed as 
zealous for the Crusade as the Pope himself could wish. 
On 25 October, Pius addressed a letter to the Doge urging 
him to join the Crusade in person. We shall be three 

1 The Bull is given in Opera, as Ep. 412. Cf. Commentarii, lib. xii. p. 

344- 

2 Otto Carretto to the Duke of Milan, 25 Oct. 1463 (Pastor, iii. p. 333, 
from the original in Bib. Ambrosiana, Milano). 

3 Pastor, iii. p. 334, from the Hamburg Chronicle. 



324 POPE PIUS II 

old men," he said, " and God rejoices in a trinity. Our 
trinity will be aided by the Trinity of heaven, and our 
foes will be confounded before our eyes." x The letter 
was discussed in the Senate, where the Doge pleaded his 
advancing years as an excuse for not acceding to the Pope s 
request. His colleagues, however, were determined that 
he should go, and, after the manner of Venetians, they 
sacrificed the individual to the Republic without hesitation 
or pity. " If your Serene Highness will not embark of 
your own free will we will use force," said one of those 
present ; "we value the honour and welfare of this city 
more than your person." 2 Thus Pius began to look 
forward with some degree of confidence to setting sail 
for the East in the coming spring. The concluding words 
of the twelfth book of the Commentaries, written on 
i January 1464, breathe the atmosphere of the moment. 
From them we learn the condition of the Pope s mind 
as the new year dawned. " Now no further obstacle 
remained in the way of Pope Pius s expedition against 
the Turk, and it seemed likely that much might occur to 
prosper it. Fortified by these considerations he applied 
himself to his task, making vast preparations of all things 
necessary for war ; on which beginnings may God have 
mercy." 3 

The year 1464 brought a rude awakening from Pius n s 
dreams of a glorious and successful Crusade. What he 
regarded as a promising beginning was in reality a climax. 
He had done his utmost, and the response which his 
enthusiasm had evoked concealed for a moment the real 
hollowness of the crusading plans. Now, during seven 
weary months of disappointment and disillusionment, the 
Pope was to learn that he had striven in vain, and that 
his great venture was doomed to failure. The brief span 

1 Cf. Raynaldus, 1463, No. 41, and Malipiero, Annali Veneti (Arch. 
Stor. Ital., t. vii. pt. I, ist series, p. 18). 

2 Sanudo (Muratori, xxii. p. 1174). 

3 Commentarii, lib. xii. p. 447. 



PIUS II AND THE CRUSADE 325 

of life that remained to him was spent in futile effort 
and pitiable struggling against the inevitable. Neverthe 
less, this last phase of his career is fashioned upon nobler 
lines than those which preceded it. Pius, the calculating, 
ambitious climber, who had faced facts so remorselessly 
all his life, ceased to face them now. He owed much of 
his success in life to his refusal to attempt what he could 
not reasonably expect to accomplish. He died a martyr 
to a hopeless cause. The failure of these last months is 
raised from ignominy to something approaching grandeur 
by his inability to acknowledge that he was beaten. 



CHAPTER XV 
THE LAST JOURNEY 

MUTUAL jealousy among the Italian States, 
absorption in their own affairs on the part of 
the Princes of Europe these two causes are 
mainly responsible for the tragedy of the next few months. 
In Italy the crux of the situation lay with Venice. The 
isolation, the wealth, and the almost unvarying success 
of the Republic of S. Mark had already earned the hatred 
of her neighbours, and the fact that Venice was to play 
a prominent part in the Crusade at once discredited it 
in Italian eyes. Florence looked upon the whole enter 
prise as a deep-laid plot by which other States would be 
made to fight the battles of Venice. Her envoy actually 
advised the Pope to leave Venice and the Turk to weaken 
each other, and thus, by a simple policy of non-interference, 
to free Italy from a double danger. Pius n s reply to 
this proposal was a stern indictment of the Florentines, 
who " would allow everything to go to perdition if only 
their own Republic were saved." 1 Nevertheless, there 
was little love lost between the Pope and the Venetians, 
and, at heart, he was as sceptical as Florence as to the 
motives which inspired their present activity. The sons 
of Venice, he said, were merchants, and they " expended 
gold only in order to obtain gold." " Foolish is the 
thought of him who deems that these people can be 
persuaded to noble deeds unless they bring with them 
tangible utility." In his opinion, the primary object of 

1 Commentarii, lib. xii. p. 334. 
326 



THE LAST JOURNEY 327 

Venice was the conquest of the Morea ; the customs of 
the province were worth three thousand ducats a year, 
and its situation made it likely to become the " centre of 
the world s commerce," should it pass under Venetian 
rule > Thus Pius laboured under no illusions with regard 
to Venice, but he also realised that he was dependent 
upon her aid, and so he had determined to co-operate 
with her loyally. Venice, however, had no real desire 
for a common war against the Turk. Her object through 
out was to divert the Pope s attention to the mainland 
campaign, conducted by Hungary, in order that she might 
be left with unfettered control over the naval operations. 
The preparations for the equipment of the Papal fleet 
filled the Venetian envoy in Rome with uneasiness, and 
in January 1464 he began to say openly that it would 
be far better for the Pope not to go on the Crusade in 
person. 2 The diplomatic documents of the time force 
us to the conclusion that, the endless negotiations over 
the vessels to be supplied by Venice for transport, the 
puerile excuses and the interminable delays, all formed 
part of a deliberate scheme for hoodwinking the Pope and 
making him serve the purposes of the Republic. It was 
a cruel deception, yet it was eminently characteristic of 
Venetian policy. " What do fishes care about justice ? " 
Pius had once said. " As among animals there is least 
reason in the inhabitants of the water, so of all the human 
race the Venetians are least just and least merciful. They 
reverence their Republic as a god, and nothing else is holy 
to them, nothing sacred. They hold that just which serves 
their Republic, holy which increases their dominion." 3 

A worse blow had still to fall. Pius spent Lent and 
Easter at Siena, and here, on Good Friday, he received 
a letter containing such mournful news that he could 

1 Commentarii, lib. xii. pp. 314-5; Cugnoni, pp. 228-9. 

2 Cf. Pastor, iii. p. 364, quoting from the dispatch of the Milanese 
ambassador, 18 Jan. 1464. 

3 Cugnoni, p. 225. 



328 POPE PIUS II 

only speak of it as " appropriate to the day of the Lord s 
Passion." x It announced that the Duke of Burgundy 
had, at the instance of his suzerain Louis xi, postponed his 
departure for the East for another year. All recognised 
that this decision was tantamount to a total withdrawal 
from the Crusade. A year s delay at Pius n s age was out 
of the question, and although the Duke promised to send 
his illegitimate son with a respectable contingent of 
troops at the date originally fixed, not even the Pope 
appears to have put faith in his word. " Every tower 
must fall at last, if it is persistently bombarded by 
cannon," 2 is Pius n s comment on the catastrophe. 
Burgundy had, in truth, succumbed before the repeated 
attacks of the peace party, headed by the arch-enemy of 
the Crusade and of the Pope alike, Louis xi of France. 

With the defection of Burgundy vanished the last 
vestige of hope for a successful Crusade, and the path of 
wisdom at this point was undoubtedly to abandon the 
whole enterprise. Many were the voices which urged this 
course upon the heart-broken Pope. The condition of his 
health made it increasingly improbable that he would be 
able to bear the discomfort and fatigue of the voyage. 
Already every movement caused him pain, and the diffi 
culty of conveying him from place to place increased with 
each day s journey. On his return to Rome, towards the 
end of May, he was seized with a fresh attack of fever and 
gout. The distracted Cardinals besought him to remain 
at home, but his heart was set on the expedition, and he 
expressed his determination to persevere even at the cost 
of his life. " Every day seems to him like a year, so anxious 
is the Holy Father to reach Ancona and to set sail." 3 So 

1 Commentarii, lib. xiii. p. 374 (printed as an Appendix to Voigt, 
Pius II, vol. ii.). 

2 Commentarii, lib. xiii. p. 372. According to Malipiero (Annali 
Veneti, p. 27), the Duke of Milan and the Florentines intrigued with the 
King of France to prevent Burgundy from going on the Crusade. 

3 Antonio Ricavo to the Marquis of Mantua, 10 April 1464 (Pastor 
in. p. 347). 



THE LAST JOURNEY 329 

wrote the Mantuan ambassador in April. Meanwhile 
Francesco Sforza was doing his utmost to dissuade his 
friend from embarking. 1 His envoys in Rome waxed 
eloquent upon the manifold perils and inevitable disaster 
which must accompany the Crusade, and Sforza even offered 
to mediate between Pius and Louis xi, if the former would 
postpone his departure. The Pope, however, was not to be 
moved. He knew that Francesco Sforza, as the friend of 
France and the enemy of Venice, had personal reasons for 
disliking the Crusade. Therefore he regarded all his argu 
ments with suspicion, and Sforza was forced to confess 
his inability to overcome the Pope s " Sienese obstinacy." 2 
Meanwhile the final preparations for departure were 
being made. At Pisa, Cardinal Forteguerra superintended 
the equipment of the Papal fleet. Crusaders were flocking 
in their thousands to Italy, and the Archbishop of Crete 
was appointed to take charge of them. Many were quite 
unfitted for war, and the majority were ill equipped. Thus 
the Archbishop had to grapple with the double problem of 
persuading the unemployable to return to their homes 
and of providing arms for those capable of bearing them. 
On ii June, Cardinal Piccolomini was appointed Vicar in 
Rome and in the Papal States. A week later, Pius n left 
the city. The story of his long-drawn-out martyrdom, of 
the slow and painful journey to the coast beneath the 
burning skies of an Italian summer, of the weary wait at 
Ancona amid heat and plague and disappointment, and of 
the death which finally brought release, this can best be told 
by the Pope s devoted disciple, Jacopo Ammanati, Cardinal 
of Pavia. For the greater part of the time he was Pius s 
closest companion, and he was strengthened to endure his 
own share of discomfort by the example of patience and 

1 Cf . the dispatches of the Milanese envoys quoted by Pastor, 
iii. pp. 350 seq. 

z Francesco Sforza, Instruction to the French Ambassador, 10 August 
1464 : " Nuy gli dessuademo tale andata et faremo el possibile perche 
non passi della ; benche 1 habia el cervello Senese " (Pastor, iii. Appendix 
62. From Cod. 1611, Fonds. Ital., Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris). 



330 POPE PIUS II 

fortitude presented to him by his master. Having been 
present "up to his last breath, hanging upon his lips," he 
wrote a full account of the events of these sad weeks to 
Cardinal Piccolomini. " Gladly do I think and speak of our 
Pius/ writes the sorrowing friend. " By so doing I alleviate 
my longing for the departed and find comfort." 1 

On 1 8 June, Ammanati tells us, Pius took the Cross in 
S. Peter s, and was borne in his litter to the Ponte Molle, 
where he took leave of the crowd of prelates and citizens 
and embarked in a barge upon the Tiber. This was a slow 
means of travel, but it caused him the least discomfort, 
and for the next four days the barge pursued its leisurely 
course up stream. Halts for the night were made at Castel 
Giubileo, Fiano, and the Benedictine monastery at the 
foot of Soracte, but on each occasion the Pope himself 
remained on board. The incidents of the journey show 
us the Pius that we have always known, of undaunted 
spirit and quick sympathy. Although weakened and 
unnerved by illness, he exerted himself to perform the 
business which each day brought, and he was keenly alive to 
everything that went on around him. On the second day 
he was deeply distressed by the death of a bargeman, a 
youth of about twenty, who fell into a deep part of the 
river and was drowned before his eyes. "The Pope lay 
long silent, with tears in his eyes, praying for the departed/ 
Later on, he found that the inhabitants of a village on the 
right bank of the Tiber had made great preparations to 
welcome him as he passed. The barge was then being 
towed from the left bank, but the Pope ordered the course 
to be changed, so that the people might not be disappointed, 
or feel that their outlay had been wasted. Meanwhile 
letters came from the Archbishop of Crete, telling of the 
difficulty of controlling the impatient crowds at Ancona, 
and begging that some strong man might be sent with 
sufficient authority to quell disturbances among the would- 

1 Jacobi Card. Pap. Epistolae, Ep. 41. Cf. also Commentarii, lib. i. 
pp. 354 scq. 



THE LAST JOURNEY 331 

be Crusaders. The Pope s thoughts at once flew to Car- 
vajal, who, as Ammanati gratefully recalls, " loved our 
Pius above others, and constantly aided him in his holy 
enterprise." It grieved him to impose so heavy a task 
on an old man, already worn out in the service of the 
Church ; but he had no alternative, and Carvajal promptly 
responded to the call. " Holy Father," he said, " if you 
consider me the person most fitted for the work, I will at 
once obey your command. I will follow your example, 
for I know that you are laying down your life for your 
flock. You write to me to come, and I am here. You bid 
me go, and I depart. I cannot refuse this little end of my 
life to Christ." Such whole-hearted devotion acted like 
a tonic upon the Pope. He invited Carvajal and Ammanati 
to dine with him that evening, and talked of nothing 
throughout the meal but of his longing to set sail. 

At Otricoli the Pope exchanged the barge for a litter, 
and was carried by slow and painful stages up the Tiber 
valley. Along that same road he had gone five years 
before, at the outset of his Pontificate, full of hope and 
enthusiasm, on his way to the Congress of Mantua. Then 
the journey itself had been a source of delight to him, and 
the fair Umbrian cities had never welcomed a more eager 
sight-seer. Now he could not endure more than six or seven 
miles travelling in the day, and the curtains of his litter 
were drawn, in order that he might be spared the sight of 
the companies of disappointed Crusaders who were already 
wending their way back from Ancona. At Terni, trouble 
befell the faithful Ammanati. He had sat up late into 
the night writing for the Pope, clad in the lightest of 
attire owing to the great heat. When at last he retired 
to rest, he was conscious of being seized by a sudden chill. 
On the morrow, Pius found that the journey to Spoleto 
was beyond his strength, so he settled to pause for the 
night at a half-way house, keeping Ammanati with him, 
while the rest of the company went on ahead. Ammanati 
did not wish to distress the Pope, and therefore said nothing 



332 POPE PIUS II 

of his own plight. He slept uncomplainingly in a draughty 
tent at his master s side, and, in consequence, arrived at 
Spoleto on the following day in a raging fever. He had 
perforce to be left behind, while the Pope went on his way, 
striking across the Apennines from Assisi to Fabriano, and 
thence to Ancona. 

On 19 July the weary pilgrimage was ended, and Pius 
took up his residence in the episcopal palace, adjoining 
the ancient Cathedral of San Ciriaco on Monte Guasco. 
This was at the northern extremity of Ancona, and the 
palace commanded a magnificent view of the sea and 
harbour. The fair prospect and the refreshing breezes 
brought some relief to the Pope, but there was little else 
to encourage him. His relations with Ancona had not 
been entirely harmonious, and so little did the citizens 
appreciate the honour of a Papal visit that they had biers 
with corpses of straw carried through the streets, in order 
to give the impression of a plague-stricken city and to 
make the Pope defer his coming. 1 Still the Venetian ships 
failed to make their appearance, and still bands of Crusaders 
continued to leave Ancona in disgust, until it seemed as 
if the tardy fleet would soon find no troops to transport. 
Pius clung to the possibility of a Crusade, but, outside 
his chamber, the prevailing topic of the hour, was his own 
approaching end, and diplomatists had already begun 
to write and speak of the next Conclave. 2 

Meanwhile, Ammanati recovered from his fever, and 
hastened to Ancona, arriving on 25 July, just a month 
after he had parted from the Pope at Spoleto. The night 
before his arrival he had been troubled by a strange 
dream. It seemed to him that he was back in Rome, 
at the Vatican : all the doors stood open, there were no 
guards ; the walls were bare of tapestries, and the beds 

1 Chronicon Eugubinum (Muratori, xxi. p. 1007). 

2 Cf . Pastor, vol. iii. p. 360, who mentions a cipher letter on the 
subject from the Archbishop of Milan to Francesco Sforza, dated 31 July 
1464, Ancona. 




PIUS II AT ANCONA 

FRESCO BY PINTOKICCHIO 
Piccolomini Library, Siena 



THE LAST JOURNEY 333 

were stripped of their coverings. After wandering un 
hindered through the deserted palace, Ammanati entered 
the Pope s own apartment, which stood empty as the 
rest. In despair, he sought some one to tell him the 
meaning of this scene of desolation, and he came upon a 
young kinsman of the Pope, the nephew of Goro Lolli, 
who told him in faltering tones to seek the Chapel. Here 
he found the Cardinals assembled, and everything arranged 
as for a Conclave. While he stood speechless with grief, 
the bitter truth gradually dawning upon him, one of the 
company addressed him with mocking words. " Where 
fore do you grieve ? Do you not know that the death 
of Pius has broken our bonds, and that we are free ? " 
In the stress of his sorrow, Ammanati awoke to find his 
face wet with tears. The news which greeted him at 
Ancona was sufficiently grave to seem like a confirmation 
of his vision. " What of our Pius, Ambrogio ? " was 
his eager inquiry of the first member of the household 
whom he met. " Pavia mine, he grows weaker and more 
weary every day," was the sad reply. " He is gradually 
sinking, and we cannot hope to keep him for a month 
longer." Ammanati hastened to the Pope s chamber, 
where Pius was lying on his couch transacting business 
with the referendaries. Seeing him again after a month s 
absence, it seemed to Ammanati that all his features 
had fallen in, and it was as much as the faithful friend 
could do to keep a calm face as he bent to kiss his hand. 
Yet even now the Pope s spirit triumphed over his physical 
strength, and he began to talk eagerly of the Crusade and 
its prospects, as if there were no thought of death coming 
to prevent his voyage. A few days later, Pius and 
Carvajal were on fire to start at once, with what ships 
they could muster, to the relief of Ragusa. Ammanati 
could do nothing to turn the two enthusiasts from their 
project, until the news came that the siege was raised, 
and that the danger was no longer imminent. 

On 12 August the weary watchers at Ancona learned 



334 POPE PIUS II 

at last that the Venetian fleet was in sight. The Cardinals 
went in state to meet the Doge, 1 and Pius was carried 
to his window to watch the twelve sumptuously equipped 
galleys ride into the harbour. It was a beauteous sight, 
Ammanati tells us, but it came too late to be anything 
but a pageant. That very night Pius took a turn for 
the worse, and the next morning he made what proved to 
be his last communion. This was on 13 August, two 
days before the Festival of the Assumption, a date which 
must have been associated in Pius s mind with gala days 
of his earliest childhood and with many a happy memory 
of student -life in Siena. On that day he looked forward 
to receiving the Blessed Sacrament once more, in honour 
of the Virgin, the liege Lady of his Republic, and the 
object of his lifelong devotion. Only a week or two 
before, he had visited the famous sanctuary at Loreto 
and had offered a golden chalice upon Our Lady s altar, 
imploring her blessing upon his great endeavour. 2 Now 
he lay dying as the Festival of her Assumption drew near. 
After Vespers on the Vigil, the Cardinals present at 
Ancona were summoned to the Pope s side to receive his 
farewell blessing. " My beloved brethren," he began, 
" my last hour approaches ; God calls me hence : I die in 
the Catholic Faith in which I have lived. Believe me 
that until this day I have done my utmost for the flock, 
and have spared myself neither toil nor danger. I have 
not the power to finish what I have begun, the rest must 
be left to you. Persevere in this work of God, and do 
not allow the cause of religion to languish through your 
negligence. ... Be mindful of your office, be mindful 
of your Redeemer, who sees all things and rewards every 
man according to his work. . . . Have care also of the 

1 Sanudo (Muratori, xxii. p. 1180), who says that the Cardinal of 
Pavia and two Bishops came on board the Doge s galley to make Pius n s 
excuses, saying that he had had a bad night, so could not come himself. 
Cf. also Malipiero, p. 30. 

2 Cf . Voigt, iii. pp. 717-8, and Tursellinus, Lauretanae historiae, lib. ii. 
cap. i. 



THE LAST JOURNEY 335 

temporalities, and see that the Patrimony of the Church 
suffers no harm. . . . Moreover, brethren, my dealings 
with you, both as Cardinal and as Pope, have not been 
without sin. For my sins against God, may He, the 
Almighty, have mercy on me ; for my offences against 
you, beloved, I pray you to forgive me, now at the hour 
of my death. My relations and those who have served 
me, I commend to your care. Farewell, brethren ; may 
the peace of God be with you." l At first no one could 
speak for weeping, and then Bessarion said a few words 
in the name of all. Only the Pope s humility, he said, 
made him ask their pardon, for he had always been a 
kind and indulgent father, and they had no cause of 
complaint against him. He had set a noble example to 
his flock ; his death would be not only a personal loss to 
the Cardinals but a blow to Christendom. All knelt in 
turn to kiss the Pope s hand as he blessed them, saying, 
" May the God of pity pardon you." Then the Cardinals 
departed, intending to return in the morning for Mass, 
which was to be sung in the Pope s chamber with 
Ammanati celebrating. 

But this " last farewell," as Ammanati touchingly calls 
it, was not to be. " Everything being thus prepared for 
the sacred rite, behold, as the sun sank, Pius too began 
to sink." He received extreme unction, and was left 
alone with his nephew Andrea, Ammanati, Goro Lolli, 
and the three Bishops attached to his household. This 
little company of devoted friends stood round his bed, 
ministering to his last wants. Presently his eye fell on 
Ammanati. " Pray for me, my son," he whispered, " for I 
am a sinner." Then, turning towards the crucifix, he 
began to sigh out, " Have mercy upon me, O God, have 
mercy upon me ; and thou, most merciful Virgin, do not 
fail thy dying servant. For thy Son s sake, receive my 
departing soul." After an interval, he spoke once more 
to Ammanati. " Keep the continuation of our holy 

1 Card. Pap. Epistolae, Ep. 41, pp. 487-8. 



336 POPE PIUS II 

enterprise in the mind of the brethren, and aid it with 
all your power. Woe unto you, woe unto you, if you 
desert God s work." Ammanati struggled to answer 
through his tears, whereupon the Pope put his hand on 
his shoulder saying, "Do good, my son, and pray God 
for me." These were the last words he spoke. He lay 
listening to the commendatory prayers until about three 
hours after sunset, when " he surrendered his spirit to 
God so peacefully that he seemed to have passed into 
sleep and not into death." 

So died Pius n on the Eve of the Assumption, with his 
great work unfinished, surrounded by many ill-wishers 
and detractors who refused to the last to believe in the 
sincerity of his purpose. Yet in the eyes of a few devoted 
admirers, and of those who knew him most intimately, his 
death was the crowning glory of a great career. They 
could afford to despise evil tongues and words spoken in 
hatred, being content to await the calmer judgment of 
posterity, which would do justice and paint the picture as 
they saw it. For themselves, they rested upon the sure 
belief that he who had lived nobly, and died a martyr s 
death, was "in Abraham s bosom, tasting heavenly joys 
with the spirits of the blest." l 

From the moment of Pius IT S death the Crusade was 
doomed. There were at most three members of the Sacred 
College Bessarion, Carvajal, and Ammanati who would 
have wished to continue the struggle, and without their 
leader they were powerless. The rest of the Cardinals 
were at one with the Doge of Venice in regarding the Pope s 
death as a Heaven-sent release from difficulties and dangers 
to which they had been forced to expose themselves by the 
misplaced enthusiasm of their chief. For some time past 
the Venetians had looked upon Pius with deep-rooted 
suspicion. In July, peace with the Turks had actually 
been debated in the Venetian Senate, on the ground that 
the Pope was only awaiting an opportunity of withdrawing 

1 Card. Pap. Epistolae, Ep. 41, p. 490. 



THE LAST JOURNEY 337 

from the Crusade and leaving Venice to face the infidel 
single-handed. 1 When the fleet anchored in the harbour 
at Ancona, common gossip on the Doge s galley retailed 
the Pope s manifest disappointment on hearing of the 
arrival of the Venetians. He had promised to accompany 
the Doge to the East, it was said, and now that his com 
panion in arms was actually at Ancona, " he was very sorry, 
for it displeased him to break his promise, and it displeased 
him still more to go on the Crusade." 2 Nothing could 
be farther from the truth than this Venetian conception 
of one whose dying mind was possessed by a single over 
mastering passion the desire to embark forthwith upon his 
holy enterprise. It is, however, an instructive illustra 
tion of the entire absence of understanding between Pius n 
and Venice. Each regarded the other with jealousy and 
suspicion, and their mutual relations were such as to ensure 
the failure of their common undertaking, if circumstances 
had allowed them to embark upon it. The excuses proffered 
by the Cardinals on behalf of their master first gave the Doge 
an inkling of the Pope s true condition. Suspicious to the 
last, he determined to investigate on his own account, and 
he sent his doctor to make private inquiries from the 
Papal physicians. The doctor s opinion, on his return to the 
Venetian galleys, was that the Pope was dying. 3 It was 
with heart-felt relief that the Doge learned, next day, that 
this prediction was confirmed, and that Pius n had breathed 
his last. 

Interminable delay marked the proceedings which 
brought the unwilling Crusaders to Ancona ; the prepara 
tions for departure, on the other hand, were equally re 
markable for their rapidity. The contrast between the 
outward and the homeward journey goes far to prove that 
Pius ii himself was the sole vital force of the crusading 
movement. During the festival of the Assumption the 
Pope s body lay in the Cathedral of S. Ciriaco. On that 

1 Malipiero, Annali Veneti, p. 28. 2 Loc. cit., pp. 29-30. 

3 Sanudo, p. 1180, and Malipiero, p. 30. 
22 



338 POPE PIUS II 

day the Doge came to pay his tribute of respect to the 
departed, and immediately afterwards he had a conference 
with the Cardinals on the subject of the Crusade. From 
the report of the Milanese ambassador, we learn that the 
Doge s demands were " most difficult and arduous, and 
impossible to the College," and the general impression 
which he gave was that the Venetians were heartily sick 
of the whole enterprise. 1 The upshot of the conference 
was that the Cardinals decided to hand over their galleys 
to the Doge, for use against the Turk, and to transmit the 
money collected for the Crusade through him to the King 
of Hungary. Thus 40,000 ducats and five galleys were 
placed in the Doge s charge, the latter with the proviso 
that they should be returned to the Cardinals if the new 
Pope decided to go on a Crusade. 2 On 17 August Pius n s 
heart was buried in the choir of S. Ciriaco, where a marble 
slab now marks the spot, and his body set out along the 
road to Rome which he had traversed so painfully only a 
few weeks before. On the following evening the Doge 
sailed for Venice, 3 while the Cardinals hastened to Rome 
in order to be ready for the Conclave. The proceedings 
on this occasion were remarkable for their dispatch. When 
the result of the first scrutiny was made known, it was found 
that the Venetian, Cardinal Barbo, had been elected Pope. 
The news was received with unparalleled rejoicing in Venice. 
" God, who does not abandon those who trust in Him, has 
shown His power," commented Malipiero. "Pope Pius 
having brought this city into manifest peril, He has caused 
him to die, and has willed that Pope Paul n should be 
chosen in his place." 4 So ended the last attempt at a 
common enterprise against the Turk on the part of the 
Christian powers. Pius n s abortive expedition proved 
that the era of Crusades had vanished, never to return. 

1 Cf. Pastor, vol. iii. p. 371, quoting letters from Ancona to the Duke 
of Milan and C. Simonetta, 16 August and 24 August 1464. , 

2 Cf. Malipiero, p. 31 ; Sanudo, p. 1181 ; Chron. Eugub., 1008. Ammanati 
gives 48,000 ducats. 

3 Cf. Pastor, iii. p. 373. 4 Malipiero, 30 August 1464, p. 31. 



THE LAST JOURNEY 339 

Henceforth the battle against Islam was waged by two 
powers alone. Hungary fought for her very existence 
on the eastern frontiers of Europe. Venice continued to 
struggle and to bargain with her chief maritime and com 
mercial rival in the Mediterranean. 

The body of Pius n was laid to rest in S. Peter s, in the 
Chapel of S. Andrew, and a monument was erected to his 
memory by Cardinal Piccolomini. " It cost me three 
thousand ducats," the Cardinal wrote some years later, 
" not including the provision for masses and anniversary 
celebrations during the last thirty-five years." 1 He also 
made arrangements for his own burial " at the feet of his 
sainted uncle," and composed an inscription for his tomb. 
Here uncle and nephew slept undisturbed until, in 1610, 
the Chapel of S. Andrew was destroyed by Paul v to make 
room for his own building in S. Peter s. A new resting- 
place had therefore to be found for the Piccolomini Popes, 
and none could have been more appropriate than that 
which offered itself in the Church of S. Andrea della Valle. 
The Theatine church and convent of S. Andrea della Valle 
had been founded only twenty years earlier on the site of 
the Piccolomini palace in Rome. The Palazzo di Siena, 
as it was popularly called, had been built in the most 
sumptuous style by Cardinal Piccolomini between the 
years 1460 and 1472.2 It had since been the headquarters 
of the Piccolomini family in Rome, and in 1582 it had 
passed into the possession of Costanza, the widowed 
Duchess of Amain, descended through her father from 
Pius n s nephew Antonio, and through her mother Silvia 
from the younger nephew Andrea. 3 Costanza was the 
last of her line. The Duchy of Amain had already passed 
into other hands, and in 1610 she herself died in a convent 
at Naples. On the death of her mother Silvia, in 1482, 
she made over her palace in Rome to the Theatines, on 

1 Attilio Boni, La Chiesa di S. Andrea della Valle, Roma, 1908, p. 27. 
2 Cf. A. Boni, op. cit., pp. 11-2. 
3 See above, Chapter XII. p. 265. 



340 POPE PIUS II 

condition that they " should not cease to pray for us, 
and for the soul of our departed mother." x In 1491 the 
first stone of S. Andrea was laid, but the work had not 
long been completed when Cardinal Alessandro Peretti, the 
nephew of Sixtus v, determined to build " a larger and 
more splendid church " than that which already existed. 
The architect Maderno was charged with the task, and he 
was at work on the present Church of S. Andrea from 1601 
until his death in i629. 2 Thus it was under his auspices 
and those of Cardinal Peretti that the remains of Pius n 
and his nephew were transferred to their last home. In 
1614, the two monuments, "restored and embellished" 
by Cardinal Peretti, were fixed in their present place. The 
bodies, however, were not moved until nine years later. 
They remained during the interval in the ancient sarcophagi 
which can still be seen in the Vatican Crypts. 3 Owing to 
the delay in transferring the bodies, the idea gained credence 
that this was never done, and that the monuments in S. 
Andrea were only empty shells. The testimony of a manu 
script diary, preserved among the Theatine Archives, 
leaves no doubt as to the actual course of events. This 
relates that " on 6 January 1623, with the consent of Pope 
Gregory xv, the bodies of Pius n and Pius in were trans 
lated from S. Peter s to our Church of S. Andrea, two hours 
after sunset, quietly and without ceremony." " I, Giuseppe 
Beati," adds the diarist, " saw them with my own eyes, 
and touched with my hands the clothes, the bones, the 
mitre, and the gloves." 4 

The two monuments, which face each other over corre 
sponding arches in the nave of S. Andrea della Valle, have 
suffered from the vicissitudes of their history. Owing to 
Peretti s additions and to their uncomfortably high position 
on the walls of Maderno s church, they do not breathe the 

1 Letter of Costanza Piccolomini, 10 Jan. 1582. Cf. A. Boni, op. cit., 
pp. 6 and 7. 

2 Op. cit. 3 Cf. D. Dufresne, Les Cryptes Vaticanes. 

4 Attilio Boni, op. cit., p. 27, giving extracts from a private diary of 
the years 1582-1661. 




TOMB OF PIUS II 

S. ANOREA DELLA VAI.LE, HOME 



THE LAST JOURNEY 341 

spirit of Pius n. The elaborate design, the long inscrip 
tions, and the six virtues set in niches outside the principal 
reliefs form too ornate a memorial for one nurtured in the 
simple artistic ideals of the early Renaissance. Neverthe 
less, the reliefs themselves are such as he would have 
appreciated. In the centre of the first relief the Madonna 
sits enthroned. On one side ^Eneas kneels in Cardinal s 
robes, and S. Paul smiles kindly upon him, as if recognising 
that he too had erred in early life and afterwards repented 
of his errors. On the opposite side S. Peter presents the 
Papal keys to Pius n. Below this group is the urn con 
taining the body, surmounted by an effigy of the Pope, and 
below again is a representation of the entry of S. Andrew s 
head into Rome, the event of his Pontificate which Pius him 
self would most desire to commemorate. The inscription 
which follows summarises the events of his six years reign : 
:t He held a Congress at Mantua for the defence of the 
faith. He resisted the enemies of the Papacy within and 
without Italy. He numbered Catherine of Siena among 
Christ s saints. He annulled the Pragmatic Sanction in 
France. He restored Ferdinand of Aragon to the king 
dom of Sicily. He raised the estate of the Church. He 
instituted alum works at Tolfa. A lover of justice and 
religion, most admirable in eloquence, he made ready a 
fleet and enjoined the Doge of Venice and his Senate to 
be his fellow-warriors for Christ in the Turkish war. He 
died at Ancona, and was brought back to Rome and 
buried in S. Peter s, in the place where he had enshrined the 
head of S. Andrew the Apostle when it came to him from 
Peloponnesus." x 

Such, in brief, is the history of Pius n s Pontificate ; 
and, as the record of one man s achievement during six 
short years, it is by no means to be despised. Nevertheless, 
it was very soon recognised that his claim to greatness 

1 Cf . La Chiesa di S. Andrea della Valle: Storia, Monumenti, Restauri, 
Roma, 1907 (published in honour of the reopening of S. Andrea after 
restoration in 1907). 



342 POPE PIUS II 

did not rest upon his work as Pope alone. During the 
century and a half which followed his death, the numerous 
printed editions of his writings which made their appear 
ance in all parts of Europe testify to the growth of his 
literary reputation. It is one of the ironies of fortune that 
Germany, which had failed to appreciate ^Eneas while he 
was attached to the Imperial Court, should have been fore 
most in recognising his merits as a man of letters. This 
was partly due to what may be described as a commercial 
instinct. The Germans despised .Eneas s devotion to the 
classics for their own sake, but when they saw that the 
cult of poets and orators led to the throne of S. Peter, 
they began to realise that such studies were more valuable 
than they had supposed. Yet it was also due to real 
literary development. .Eneas had planted humanism 
upon German soil, and in the next generation his work 
bore fruit. " The German nation owes much to you. 
Through your teaching and example you have introduced 
her to the ancient glory of Roman eloquence and to 
humanist studies. In these she will increase from day to 
day." 1 So spoke ^neas s old friend, Johann Hinderbach, 
when he came to render the obedience of Germany to Pius n 
in 1459. He did not do more than justice to yEneas s 
influence upon German letters. In 1466 this same Hinder 
bach introduced yEneas s treatise on Education to the 
Empress Leonora, for the benefit of her young son Maxi 
milian. In this brilliant prince the ideals of humanism 
which had been propagated by .Eneas were fully realised ; 
future generations have recognised in him the flower of 
Renaissance culture in Germany. 

The German nations have, from the first, accomplished 
the lion s share of the work of collecting, printing, and 
editing the writings of .Eneas Silvius. The earliest attempt 
at a collected edition of his works appeared in Basel in 
1551, under the somewhat misleading title, Opera quae 
extant omnia. From that day the labours of German 

1 Cf. Voigt, vol. ii. p. 357. 



THE LAST JOURNEY 343 

scholars have constantly brought fresh material to light, 
ar.d we still await the later volumes of Dr. Wolkan s monu 
mental edition of ^Eneas s letters. Yet it was not only 
in Germany that our hero s books were read and cir 
culated. The list of books printed by the first Paris 
Press in the Sorbonne between 1470 and 1472 includes 
two volumes by ^Eneas Silvius. 1 Tudor England de 
lighted in The most excellent Historie of Euryalus and 
Lucresia, and in 1570 one Alexander Barclay published 
Certayne Egloges gathered out of a booke named in Latin 
MISERIAE CURIALIUM, compiled by Mneas Silvius, Poet and 
Orator. 

It has been unfortunate for ^Eneas s literary reputation 
that the printed editions of the Commentaries give the 
name of the German scribe, Gobellinus, as the author of 
this his greatest work. 2 These editions, moreover, have 
suffered at the hands of an expurgator whose sense of 
propriety was considerably more developed than his 
literary instinct. The Commentaries, like their author, 
have had a chequered career, and it is only of compara 
tively recent years that it has been possible to unravel 
the tangled threads of their history. Apart from the 
overwhelming weight of internal evidence, both Campano 
and Platina testify to the fact that Pius n was the true 
author of the Commentaries. Campano not only knew 
of their existence, but the Pope had actually given him 
the manuscript to read and correct. On reading them, he 
found them altogether too admirable for him to profane 
by the touch of an alien hand. " He gave them me to 
correct, but I did not correct them," Campano wrote to 
Ammanati. 3 In 1883 Dr. Pastor discovered a manuscript 
in the Vatican which is without doubt the original of the 
Commentaries, written partly by the Pope himself, partly 

1 Cf. A. Claudin, The First Paris Press (Bibliographical Society s 
Publications, 1898). 

2 These editions are three in number: Rome, 1584 and 1589; and 
Frankfort, 1614. 

3 Card. Pap. Epistolae, No. 30. 



344 POPE PIUS II 

by others at his dictation. 1 This was apparently the 
manuscript which he gave to Campano for revision, and 
afterwards ordered his scribe Gobellinus to copy. 
G6bellinus finished his task on 12 June 1464, and affixed 
his name to his handiwork after the common practice 
of copyists. 2 Yet the fact that Gobellinus s copy varies 
from the original in minor details only, shows that both 
friend and scribe played their part faithfully. They did 
nothing to spoil the essential character of the Pope s 
work. It seems almost certain that the over-zealous 
editor was Francesco Bandini-Piccolomini, Archbishop of 
Siena, under whose auspices the Commentaries were first 
published in 1584. We learn from the Archbishop s 
preface that he received a copy of the Commentaries, 
together with many other valuable manuscripts, as a 
bequest from his uncle, Cardinal Giovanni Piccolomini. 
He describes them as " a history of the times of Pope 
Pius ii ... related in the form of commentaries by one 
Johannes Gobellinus, a servant of the said Pius n." He 
had read the manuscript again and again in his younger 
days, and he considered " much, if not all of it, worthy 
not only of commendation but of admiration." His own 
appreciation of the work, coupled with the fact that 
spurious fragments " containing various errors " were 
being circulated at the time, made him determine to 
present the book to the world in its genuine form, 
" adorned with its own splendour." 3 It is clear that 
the Archbishop would have us believe both that Gobel 
linus was the author of the Commentaries and that this 
published edition was a faithful rendering of the manu- 

1 For an account of this valuable discovery (Cod. Reginense, 1995) 
cf. Pastor, iii. Appendix 65, and Lesca, pp. 21-2, 27 seg. 

2 " Divo Pio ii P.M. volente Johannes Gobellini de Lins Vicarius 
Bonnensis Colonien. Dioecesis hoc opus anno 1464 die xn mensis Junii 
excripsi feliciter." These are the concluding words of the MS. of the 
Commentaries, formerly in the possession of Prince Corsini, and now in 
the Vatican (Cod. Corsini, 35 b. n). Cf. Lesca, pp. 26-7. 

3 The Archbishop s preface is given both in the Roman and in the 
Frankfort editions. 



THE LAST JOURNEY 345 

script in his possession. Yet it is difficult to imagine 
that he was deceived as to the real author of the book, 
or that the manuscript, which he was at pains to describe 
as most trustworthy, was any other than Gobellinus s 
original copy. 1 The most obvious conclusion is that the 
Archbishop deliberately omitted such passages of the 
original as seemed to him unedifying, and that even when 
this was done, he did not consider the book sufficiently 
decorous to be published under the name of his Papal 
relative. To one bred in the atmosphere of the Counter- 
Reformation, Pius ii s outspoken criticisms of persons 
and events, and the unedifying scenes in the Sacred College 
which he pictures, must have seemed wholly unsuitable 
for publication. 2 Moreover, the essentially unecclesiastical 
tone of the Commentaries accorded ill with the prevailing 
conception of Papal dignity. Thus it is easy to understand 
the Archbishop s point of view, although it is less easy 
to forgive him. The confusion with Gobellinus, and the 
knowledge that an editor s hand has been at work, have 
created an impression of uncertainty with regard to the 
Commentaries which has proved curiously tenacious. It 
has cast an unwarrantable slur upon the reputation of a 
great book. 3 

His own age judged Pius n mainly by his work as 
a statesman ; the achievements of his Pontificate formed 
the criterion of his greatness in contemporary eyes. 
Later generations, justly regarding him as first of all 
a man of letters, based their judgment principally upon 
his literary work. Yet the permanent importance of 
Pius ii is not due to achievement in any sphere, it is 

1 I.e. the Corsini MS. Cf. Lesca, p. 23. 

2 In 1883, Cugnoni, the Keeper of the Chigi Library, published the 
passages from the Commentaries contained in the MS. under his charge 
but omitted from the printed editions. The Chigi MS. agrees in all 
essentials with the Corsini and Regincse versions. Another MS. is pre 
served in the Leicester Library at Holkam. 

3 For a full discussion of the problem of the Commentaries, cf. Lesca, 
pp. 9-42- 



34^ 



POPE PIUS II 



rather the outcome of his personality. We remember 
him less for what he did, or for what he wrote, than for 
what he was. Both in theory and in practice he is the 
complete humanist. In him we have the fullest illustra 
tion of the ideals of humanism, as conceived by the 
scholars, and as realised in active life. His sympathies 
and his aversions, his virtues and his vices, his weakness 
and his power, are all typical of humanism. Thus the 
study of his career gives us a unique insight into the ideals 
of the Renaissance world. His failure and his success 
help us to estimate the value of humanism as a contribu 
tion to civilisation, as a phase in the intellectual and 
spiritual development of the European nations. 

The history of ^Eneas Silvius is from first to last a 
character-study ; and when the story has been told to the 
end, he still remains something of an enigma. Of all the 
great historians who have written about him, no two have 
come to the same conclusion. Yet his was not really a 
profound or complex nature. Perhaps the most dis 
tinguishing feature of his character was the quality of 
youthfulness. Vanity, egoism, restlessness, passion, pre 
judice, these are some of the vices of youth, and Pius, 
even after the rejection of ^Eneas, was guilty of every one 
of them. On the other hand, he has his full share of the 
virtues of youth. To his dying day he retained his 
enthusiasm, his energy, his strong affections, his delight 
in simple pleasures, and his love of beauty. His body 
grew old before its time, but he was always young in 
spirit, and in this he showed himself a true child of the 
Renaissance. 

From the outset of his career his general attitude 
towards life was that of the humanist. He looked upon 
the world as a field for his conquests, and he set out in 
life with the determination to capture the world by the 
simple means of adapting himself to its requirements. 
Humanism insisted that eloquence, tact, courtesy, and 
knowledge of his fellows were the all-important qualities 



THE LAST JOURNEY 347 

which fitted a man to play his part in the world with 
success. ^Eneas possessed these gifts by nature, and he 
cultivated them persistently. He was also endowed to a 
marked degree with what may be called the dramatic 
sense. In every incident of his public life he would, almost 
unconsciously, make a mental picture of the ideal attitude 
to be adopted under the circumstances. Once seen, the 
picture became his own, and he was most truly himself 
in living up to it. Many people have in consequence 
dubbed him a hypocrite. Others may prefer to call him 
an artist. But, be this as it may, no one can deny that 
the effect on his career was eminently successful. The 
rise of ^Eneas Silvius from obscurity and poverty to the 
throne of S. Peter is a permanent witness to the strength 
of the humanist ideal. 

Nevertheless, in looking back upon his history, the 
prevailing impression which we gather is that of the 
limitations of humanism as a guide to life. As a man of 
letters, he suffered from a humanist s exaggerated devotion 
to the classics. If he had been willing to write in Italian, 
instead of imprisoning his talent within the fetters of a 
dead language, his contribution to literature would have 
been immeasurably greater. More than this, the ideals 
of humanism were not high enough to grapple with the 
problems of his Pontificate. It was not that he lacked 
an ideal for the Papacy. He strove persistently to raise 
its prestige and to make it once more a living force in 
Europe. He had the wisdom and the imagination to 
embrace a crusading policy as the true means of attaining 
his end. Nevertheless, he failed ; and although it may 
be argued that the conditions of the age were more than 
enough to account for his failure, it must be remembered 
that he himself was a child of the age. In order to realise 
his ideal of the Papacy, it was not enough to adapt himself 
to the world, it was necessary to defy the world. A Pope 
who could have reformed the Curia, and marshalled the 
forces of Europe against the Turk in the fifteenth century, 



348 POPE PIUS II 

must have been possessed by the divine folly of the 
mediaeval saint, who despised the world and its standards, 
and was ready to fly in the face of reason and expediency 
for the sake of an ideal that could only be realised in 
eternity. Pius was ready to go out against the Turk 
when there was reasonable hope that the States of the 
Church would not be torn from him during his absence. 
He was not prepared to stake his all upon a great venture. 
He did the utmost that expediency sanctioned for the 
cause of the Crusade ; but, while he was waiting for the 
princes of Europe to follow his example, he built Pienza. 
Thus he was not able to convince Christendom of his 
sincerity, or to restore the fallen credit of the Papacy. 
He takes his place in the long line of attractive failures 
who have adorned the pages of the world s history. An 
idealist, and at the same time a man of the world, high- 
souled, large-hearted, and intensely human, he saw the 
highest even while he failed to make it his sole end in 
life. Both in his success and in his failure he is the mirror 
of his age. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 



THE PRINCIPAL WORKS OF AENEAS SILVIUS 



Date of 
Composition 

1440 . 



1440 . 

H43 

1444 . 

1444 . 

1444 . 

1444 . 

1446 . 

1450 . 

1450 . 
I44O-I45O 

1453 

1453 - 



Libellus Dialogorum de generalis Concilii authoritate 

et gestis Basiliensium (KOLLARIUS, A. F., Ana- 

lecta Monumentorum Vindobonensia, Vienna, 

1762, t. ii. pp. 691-790). 
Commentariorum . . . de Gestis Basiliensis Concilii 

(sEneas Silvius, Opera quae extant omnia, Basel, 

1551, pp. 1-63). 
Pentalogus (Fez. B. Thesaurus anecdotorum novissi- 

mus, Vienna, 1721-9, t. iv. 3, pp. 736 seq.}. 
De Natura et cura equorum (WOLKAN, Dr. R., Der 

Briefwechsel des Eneas Silvius Piccolomini, 

Vienna, 1909, Bd. i. Ep. 154). 
De Curialium Miseriis (WOLKAN, Ep. 166 ; Opera, 

ed. Basel, Ep. 166). 
Eurialus et Lucretia (WOLKAN, Ep. 152 ; Opera, ed. 

Basel, Ep. 113). 
Chrisis (unpublished. MS. in Prag. Kodex Lob- 

kowitz, 462). 
De ortu et autoritate Romani Imperil (GOLDAST. M., 

Monarchiae S. Rom. Imperil, Frankfort, 1614, 

t. ii. pp. 1558 seq. ; WOLKAN, Abt. ii. Ep. 3). 
DC Rebus Basileae gestis (FEA, C., Pius II Pont. Max. 

a calumniis vindicalus, Rome, 1823, pp. 31-115 ; 

WOLKAN, Abt. ii. Ep. 44). 
De Liber ovum Educatione (Opera, ed. Basel, pp. 965- 

91 ; WOLKAN, Abt. ii. Ep. 40). 
De Viris aetate sua Claris (Bibliothek des literar. 

Vereins in Stuttgart, Bd. i., 1843 ; MANSI, J. D., 

Pii II P. M. Orationes, Lucca, 1755-9, t. iii. pp. 

144-213). 
Historia Gothorum (DUELLII, R., Biga librorum 

rariorum. Frankfort, 1730). 
Dialogus. Rome, 1475. 

349 



350 POPE PIUS II 

Date of 

Composition 

1454 . . Historia de Ratisponensi dieta (MANSI, Orationes, 

t. iii. pp. 1-85). 
1456 . . Avtis Rhetoricae Praecepta (Opera, ed. Basel, pp. 

992-1034). 

1456 . . Commentarii in Libros Antonii Panormitae poetae de 

dictis et factis Alphonsi regis (Opera, ed. Basel, 
pp. 472-499). 

1457 De ritu, situ, moribus et conditione Germaniae (Opera, 

ed. Basel, pp. 1034-86). 

1452-1458 . Historia Friderici III (KOLLARIUS, A. F., An. Mon. 
Vindob., t. ii. pp. 1-475 ; JEneae Sylvii Opera 
Geographica et Historica, Helms tad t, 1699-1700). 

1458 . . Europa (Opera, ed. Basel, pp. 387-471 ; Opera Geo 

graphica et Historica, ed. Helms tad t). 

1458 . . Historia Bohemica (Opera, ed. Basel, pp. 81-143 ; 
Opera Geographica et Historica}. 

1461 . . Asia (Opera, ed. Basel, pp. 281-386; Opera Geo 
graphica et Historica }. 

1463 . . Supra Decades Blondi Epitome (Opera, ed. Basel, 

pp. 144-281). 

1464 . . Commentarii (Pii Secundi Pont. Max. Com- 

mentarii Rerum memorabilium, quae temporibus 
suis contigerunt, A. R. D. JOANNE GOBELLINO, 
Vicario Bonnen. jamdiu compositi, et a R. P. D. 
FRANCISCO BANDINO-PICCOLOMINEO, Archiepis- 
copo Senensi ex vetusto original! recogniti. 
Frankfort, 1614. For passages omitted from 
these first twelve books, CUGNONI, J., JEneae 
Silvii, Opera Inedita, Rome, 1883, PP- I 79~ 2 33- 
For the thirteenth book, VOIGT, G., Enea Silvio, 
Bd. ii. pp. 359-377)- 

Epistolae. Principal editions, (i) Opera, ed. 
Basel, pp. 500-962, giving four hundred and 
fourteen letters. (2) Epistolae, ed. Niirnberg, 
1481. (3) Epistolae, ed. Mediolani, 1473 ; fifty- 
two letters belonging to the Papal period. (4) 
VOIGT, G., Die Brief e des Mneas Sylvius voy seiner 
Erhebung auf den papstlichen Stuhl (Archiv. fur 
Kunde osterreichischer Geschichts-Quellen, Bd. xvi. 
A list of the five hundred and fifty-nine letters of 
the pre-Papal period known to Voigt, giving dates 
of composition and references to sources, as well as 
many letters hitherto unpublished. (5) WOLKAN, 
Dr. R., Der Briefwechsel des Eneas Silvius Piccolo- 
mini, Abt. i. Bde. i., ii., 1431-1445. Abt. ii., 1447- 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 



1450 (Osterreichische Geschichts-Quellen, Abt. ii. 
Bde. bd., Ixii., Ixvii.). The first volumes of a 
collected edition of ^Eneas Silvius s correspond 
ence. Invaluable to all students of the subject. 
Orationes (MANSI, J. D., Pii II P. M. olim Aeneae 
Sylvii Piccolominei Senensis Orationes politicae 
et ecclcsiasticae. Lucca, 1755, 3 vols.). 



B 

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AMMAN ATI, J. . Epistolce et commentarii Jacobi Picolomini 

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(Anno xxiv, Firenze-Pienza, October 1905). 
Pienza e Pio II. Numero unico pubblic- 
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Vita e fatti di Federigo di Monte feltro, duca 
di Urbino (ed. Zuccardi). Rome, 1824. 

Certayne egloges gathered out of a booke 
named in Latin, MISERY CURIALIUM, 
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Die Historia Frederici III des Mneas Silvio 
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Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini in seiner 
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BARCLAY, A. 

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352 POPE PIUS II 

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GOLDAST, M. 
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> > 

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INFESSURA, S. . 

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ATI, A. 
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MANSI, J. D. 
23 



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Concilia, vols. xxix.-xxxii. 



354 



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MEUSEL, A. . . Enea Silvio als Publicist. Breslau, 1905. 
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PONTANUS, J. De bello Neapolitano. Basel, 1566. 

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SYMONDS, J. A. . 
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TIRABOSCHI, G. . 

TURSELLINUS, H. 

URSTISIUS, C. . 

VERDIERE, C. H. . Essai sur /Eneas Sylvius Piccolomini. 

Paris, 1843. 
VESPASIANO DA BISTICCI Vite di uomini illustri del secolo xv. (ed. 

Frati, Collezione di Opere inedite o Rare}. 

Bologna, 1892-93. 
VOIGT, G. . . Enea Silvio de Piccolomini als Papst 

Pius II und sein Zeit alter. 3 vols. 

Berlin, 1856-63. 
,, ,, . . . Die Briefe des Aeneas Silvius vor seiner 

Erhebung auf den pdpstlichen Stuhl 

(Archiv fur Kunde osterreichischer Ges- 

chichts-Quellen xvi.). 
,, ,, . . . Die Wiederbelebung des classischen Alter - 

thums oder das erste Jahrhundert des 

Humanismus. 2 vols. Berlin, 1880- 

81. 

WADDING, L. . . Annales Minorum, t. xii. Rome, 1735. 
WATERS, W. G. . . Italian Sculptors. London, 1911. 
WEISS, A. . . Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini als Papst 

Pius II. Graz, 1897. 
WOLKAN, R. . . Die Briefe des Eneas Silvius vor seiner 

Erhebung auf den Pdpstlichen Stuhl. 

Vienna, 1905. 

,, . . Der Briefwechsel des Eneas Silvius Piccolo- 
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(1431-45)." Bd. i. Privatbriefe. Bd. ii. 



356 



POPE PIUS II 



WOODWARD, W. H. 



YRIARTE, C. 
ZANNONI, G. 



ZDEKAUER, L. 



Amtliche Brief e. x Abt. ii., " Brief e als 
Priester und als Bischof von Triest" 
(1447 50) (flsterreichische Geschichts- 
Quellen. Abt. ii. Bde. Ixi., bdi., Ixvii.). 
Vienna, 1909-12. 

Vittorino da Feltre, and other Humanist 
Educators. Cambridge, 1897. 

Education during the Renaissance. Cam 
bridge, 1906. 

Un condottiere au xv* siecle. Paris, 1882. 

Per la storia di due amanti (Atti delta R. 
Academia dei Lincei, serie iv. vol. vi. 
Rome, 1890). 

Per la storia d una storia d amove (Cultura, 
vol. xi. Rome, 1800). 

Lo Studio di Siena nel Rinascimento. 
Siena, 1894. 

Sulle origini dello studio Senese. Siena, 
1896. 



1 This latest volume came into my hands too recently for me to 1 , 
able to refer to it in the text. 



INDEX 



Aachen, 40. 

Abruzzi, 185, 187 

Acherisi, Angela, 18 
Francesco, 18 

Adrianople, 306 

Adversus Austriales, 123-4 

^Egean Sea, 306 

Africa, 28 

Agincourt, battle of (1415), 297 

Alain, Cardinal (Bishop of Avig 
non), 142, 148, 152, 183, 244 

Albania, 306 

Albano, 239, 301 

Albergata, Niccold, Cardinal of 
S. Croce, 37-42, 46-8, 54, 89, 
102, 122 

d Albret, Louis, Cardinal, 209, 246 

Alcaeus, 307 

Alexandria, Patriarch of, 307 

Aliotti, 24 

d Allemand, Louis, Cardinal (Bishop 
of Aries), 55, 62, 64-5, 67, 71, 
81, 85, 104, 291 

Alps, the, 31, 34, 37, 59, 66, 78, 

IO9, 112, I2I-2, 191, 222, 317 

Amalfi, 134 

Duchy of, 266, 239. (Dukes of. 
See Piccolomini) 

Ammanati, Jacopo, Cardinal 
(Bishop of Pavia), 14, 247-53, 
275-6, 281, 329-36, 343 

Ancona, 180, 295, 311, 328-34, 337, 

34 1 

March of, 265-6, 323 
Andrenzio, Giorgio, 31, 121 
S. Andrew s Head, 240, 301, 311-3, 

34i 

Angelico Fra, 144 
Anguillara, Everso of, 197, 204-5 
Aniene, 202 
Anjou, John of, Duke of Calabria, 

183, 185, 190-1, 212 
Rene of, King of Provence, 154, 

176-7, 183, 208, 210-11 
Ansedonia, 114 
Antioch, Patriarch of, 307 
Apennines, the, 93, 163, 166, 332 



Appiano, Jacopo, Lord of Piom- 

bino, 27 
Apulia, 187 
Aquila, 190 
Aquileia, Louis, Patriarch of 

(fi439), 64 

Alexander, Patriarch of, 85 
Luigi, Patriarch of. See Scar- 

ampo 

Aquinas, S. Thomas, 256, 285 
Aragon, Alfonso of (King of Aragon 
and Naples), 12, 101, 112, 118, 
134-5, 141, 152, 154, 183-4 
Ferrante of (King of Naples), 

143-4. 152, 154-5, 159, i?i. 
176-7, 182-92, 208, 211, 265-6, 
320, 323, 341 

Isabella of (Queen of Naples), 184 
John ii (King of Aragon), 162, 

183 

Maria of, 188, 265 
Arc, Jeanne d , 297, 300 
Arcimboldi, Niccold, 23 
Arezzo, 30, 269 

Antonio da, 10 
Aristotle s Politics, 108-9 
Aries, 104 

Cardinal of. See d Allemand 
Armenia Minor, Urtebecus, Lord 

of, 307 
Arno, 163 
Arras, Congress of (1435), 37-42, 

46, 127 

Bishop of. See Jouffroy 
Artis Rhetoricae Praecepta, 287 
Asia, 173, 298, 308 
Asia, 298 

Asia Minor, 297-8, 318 
Aspach, 107 

Assisi, 155, 160, 203, 332 
Atti, Andrea, 203 

Jacopo, 203 

Augsburg, Bishop of (Cardinal), 142 
S. Augustine, 286 
Auribelle, Martial (General of the 

Dominican Order), 254 
Aurispa, Giovanni, 23, 164 



357 



358 



POPE PIUS II 



Austria, no, 123-4, 2 7 2 2 99 
Avignon, 50, 58, 60, 183, 189 

Bacchus, 99 

Baden, Charles, Margrave of, 168 

Baia, 134 

Bamberg, 224 

Barbo, Pietro, Cardinal of S. 

Marco (afterwards Pope Paul 

n), 143, 149, 239, 257, 266, 338 
Barclay, Alexander, 343 
Basel, 23, 31-5, 39, 46, 50-3, 56-7, 

59-66, 70-3, 75, 80-2, 88, 141, 

150, 217, 225, 283, 286, 288, 

290-1, 293, 318, 342 
Council of ( 1 431-49), 2 1-2, 24, 26- 

7, 31-6, 39, 4> 46, 49-72, 80-5, 

87, 91, 95-6, 101, 104, no, 207, 

217-19, 284-5, 290-2 
Bavaria, 107. (Dukes of. See 

Wittelsbach) 
Beati, Giuseppe, 340 
Beaufort Henry, Cardinal (Bishop 

of Winchester), 42, 44 



4-1 
(II 



Beccadelli, Antonio (II Panor- 

mita), 134 

Bede, the Venerable, 45 
Belgrad, Siege of (1456), 130, 293, 

302 

Benedictine Order, 255 
Beneschau, 293 
Benzi, Battista, 281 

Socino, 281 

S. Bernard of Clairvaux, 224 
S. Bernard Pass, 31, 37 
S. Bernardino, 20-22, 254, 300 
Bessarion, Johannes, Cardinal 

(Bishop of Nicea), 143, 150, 

175, 216-7, 222, 228-9, 240, 

312-3, 318-9, 335-6 
Bicchi, Giovanni dei, 238 
Biondo, Flavio, 248, 297 
Black Sea, 125, 306 
Boccaccio, Giovanni, 163 
Bochow, Wenzel von, 109 
Boetius, n, 285 
Bohemia, 51-3, 109, 117, 123-4, 

207, 214-20, 230, 293 
Kings of. See Hapsburg and 

Podiebrad 
Bohemica, Historia, no, 141, 292-4, 

299 
Bologna, 163, 166, 314. (Bishop of. 

See Calandrini) 
Fra Lodovico da, 308-9 
Bolsena, 203, 255 
Boniface ym, Pope (Benedetto 

Gsetani), 145 



Bonifacio, Straits of, 28 

Borgia, Alfonso. See Calixtus in, 

Pope. 
Caesar, 205 
Pedro, 154-5, 158 
Rodrigo, Cardinal (afterwards 

Pope Alexander vi), 137, 143, 

148, 150, 237-8, 257, 274, 313 
Bosnia, 304-5, 318 

Stephan, King of, 304-5 
Botzen, 106-7 
Bourges, Pragmatic Sanction of 

(1438), 49, 69, 154, 176, 178, 

180, 207-11, 213, 217, 243-4, 

296, 341 
Braccio, Count of Montone, 251 
Brenner Pass, 93 
Brescia, 253-4 
Breslau, 216, 220 
Brixen, 142, 224, 226, 228, 232, 234, 

240. (Bishop of. See Cusa) 
Bruges, 43 
Bruneck, 226 

Bruni, Leonardo (Aretino),23, 108-9 
Burgundy, John the Fearless, Duke 

of, 128, 297 
Philip the Good, Duke of, 40-3, 

127-8, 170-1, 244, 308, 316-7, 

319, 322-3, 328 

Caccia, Gasparo, 47 
Stephano, 68, 288 
Calabria, 185, 187 

John of. See Anjou 
Calais, 41, 42 
Calandrini, Filippo, Cardinal 

(Bishop of Bologna), 141, 143, 

146-7, 237 
Calixtus in, Pope (Alfonso Borgia), 

131-3, 136-7, 139-41. 143. 

154-5, 169, 214, 239, 250, 293 
Campagna, 159, 196-7, 204, 282, 

301 

Campagnano, 160 
Campana, Giovanni, 7, 250-3, 308, 

343-4 

Campiglia, 20 
Campisio, Giovanni, 79, 81-2, 88, 

108, 121 

Camporsevoli, 265 
Canterbury, S. Thomas of, 42 
Capistrano, Fra Giovanni, 126, 

129-30 
Capitulations, the (1458), 144-5, 

151 

Capranica, Angelo, Cardinal 

(Bishop of Rieti), 243 

Domenico, Cardinal (Bishop of 



INDEX 



359 



Fermo), 23-5, 27-9, 31-2, 37, 

47. 53. M3-4. 243, 251 
Carinthia, 92, 120 
Carmelite Order, 254 
Carniola, 120 
Carretto, Otto, 188-9, 199 
Carvajal, Juan de, Cardinal, 21, 

90, 95, in-2, 142, 174, 222, 

240-2, 256, 293, 305, 319, 321, 

331. 333. 386 
Castel Giubileo, 330 
Castello, Simonetta da, 184-6 
Castiglione, Branda, Cardinal, 148 
Cardinal (Bishop of Pa via), 126, 

135, 138, 143, 148 

Castiglione della Pescaia, 187, 265 
Castro, Giovanni de, 318 
S. Catherine of Siena, 50, 261, 273, 

282, 341 

Celano, Ruggiero, Count of, 190 
Cerdano, Cardinal, 143 
Cerina, 309 
Cesarini Giuliano, Cardinal of S. 

Angelo, 21, 33, 51-63, 70-1, 

75, 86, 88, in, 225 
Cesena, 196 
Charles the Great, Emperor, 117, 

315 

Charles iv, Emperor, 117 

Charles v, Emperor, 266 

Chiana, Val di, 1,4 

Chiemsee, Silvester, Bishop of, 75 

Chiusi, 265 

Chrisis, 282 

Cicero, 13, 35, 60, 285 

Cilly, Ulrich, Count of, 123 

Civita Vecchia, 203, 318 

Clermont, Council of (1096), 172 

Cleves, John of, 170-1 

Clovis, 315 

Cologne, 31, 39, 40, 285 
University of, 68, 285-6 
Archbishop of, 91, 96, 170-1 
Rupert of the Palatinate, Arch 
bishop of, 233 

Colonna, house of, 27, 189, 197,204 
Antonio, Prefect of Rome, 158 
Prospero, Cardinal, 102, 142, 
144, 150, 156, 197, 244 

Commentarii, 28, 157, 159, 168, 
202, 205, 231, 250-1, 253, 255, 
270, 295-7, 302, 307, 324, 

343-5 
Commentariorum de Gestis Basil- 

iensis Concilii, 66, 69, 280, 290 
Commines, Philippe de, 183 
Compacts, the, with Bohemia (1436), 

49. 53. 214-9. 293 



Constance, Council of (1414-18), 50, 

5L 55. 245, 291 
Constantine, Emperor, 315 
Constantinople, 124-6, 132, 219. 

293. 3<>5- 6 . 3 l8 . 322 
Corneto, 203 
Corsica, 28 
Corsignano (see Pienza), 1-7, 77, 

161, 262, 266-9 

Corvinus, Matthias, King of Hun 
gary, 162, 305, 319, 338 

Cosmographia, 141, 297-8 

Creighton, Dr., 51, 300 

Crete, Jerome, Archbishop of, 
329-30 

Crivelli, Leodrisio, 248 

Crotti, Luigi, 36 

Croy, Jean de, 170 

Crusade, the, against the Turk, 
125-6, 128-9, 132-3. 135. I3 8 . 
143, 145, 155, 157-8. 167, 
169-70, 173. i?5. 179. 213, 216, 

219, 221-2, 228, 230, 240, 277, 
314, 316-24, 320-9, 332-3. 
336-8, 34 8 

Cumae, 134 

Curia, the, 68, 80, 86, 92, 95, 122, 
131, 137, 139, 142, 145-6, 158, 

162, 186, 199, 207-10, 212, 

223, 228, 231, 235-8, 245-6, 

248-51, 256, 323, 347 

Cusa, Nicholas of, Cardinal (Bishop 
of Brixen), 68, 71, 135, 143, 
158, 175, 194, 220, 224-6, 
234, 239-40, 245-6, 285, 288 

Cyprus, 30, 310. (Queen of. See 
Lusignan) 

Dalimil, 294 

Dante Alighieri, 163 

Danube, 304 

Dati, Agostino, 152-3 

De Curialium Miseriis, 76-7, 343 

De Liberorum Educatione, no, 288, 

298, 342 

Demosthenes, 60 
Denmark, 34 
De Ortu et autoritate Roman i Itn- 

perii, no, 284-5 
De Rebus Basiliae gestis, no, 291 
De Viris Claris, 293 
Dialogorum de Generalis Concilii 

authoritate, 68, 71, no, 283, 

285, 288, 297 
Die\ County of, 211 
Domenichi, Domenico dei, Bishop 

of Torcello, 144 
Dominican Order, 253-4 



360 



POPE PIUS II 



Donauwerth, 221 
Douay, 40 
Dover, 46 
Dunbar, 43 
Durham, 45 

Eastern Church, the, 56, 125, 172, 

240 

Eichstatt, John Bishop of, 166 
Elba, 27 
Empire, the, 82, 85, 91, 94, 104, 

106, 116, 118, 120, 129, 137-8, 

220-1, 230, 284-5, 297, 304 
Engelbert, 285 
England, 42, 44, 314, 317, 343 

Henry vi, King of, 317 
Entellus, n 

Ermland, Bishopric of, 136 
Eroli, Bernardo, Cardinal (Bishop 

of Spoleto), 243 
Este, Borso d , 152, 163-4, l8 5 

314 

Estouteville, Guillaume d , Cardinal 
(Archbishop of Rouen), 142-3, 
14650, 152, 310 

Eugenius iv, Pope (Gabriel Con- 
dulmier), 27, 32, 35-7, 46, 
52-7, 61-3, 65-6, 69, 81, 85- 
97, 100-3, JII > J 97, 2IO 2 4> 
254, 284, 290-1. 

Eurialus et Lucretia (De Duobus 
amantibus), 15-18, 99, 343 

Europa, 141, 298 

Europe, 8, 32, 34, 38, 51, 69-71, 80, 
83, 126-7, 130, 132, 153-5, 
157, 166, 171, 176, 180-1, 
206-7, 2I 4 2I 9, 22 6, 235, 266, 
289, 291, 293, 297, 303-8, 310, 
314, 316-18, 323, 326, 339, 
34 2 > 347-8 

San Fabbiano, 186 

Fabbriano, 332 

Fano, 195 

Felix v, Antipope. See Savoy, 
Amadeus vin, Duke of 

Feltre, Vittorino da, 15, 165 

Ferrara, 24, 112, 152, 163-4, J 85> 
188, 281, 317 

Fiano, 330 

Fiesco, Cardinal (Archbishop of 
Genoa), 142, 149, 151 

Filelfo, Francesco, 22-4, 171, 247-9 

S. Fiora, Counts of, 20 

Florence, 22-24, 2 7> 3, 34> 36-7, 
57-8, 60-1, 108, 153, 161-3, 
165, 172, 184-5, 189, 192, 195, 
211, 270, 296, 322, 326 



Florence, Archbishop of, 101 
Foligno, 1 60 
Formello, 197 

Forteguerra, Niccold, Cardinal 
(Bishop of Teano), 243, 257, 
3 2 9 
Vittoria, 3, 4, 6, 7, 13, 87, 98, 

121, 198, 262-3 

France, 37, 50, 689, 148, 154-5, 

176-8, 180, 182-4, 188-9, 195, 

207-214, 220, 228, 243-5, 253, 

304, 308, 316-7, 329, 341 

Charles vu, King of, 40, 41, 52, 

154, 176, 178, 207-9, 228, 308 
Charles vin, King of, 191 
Louis xi, King of, 208-14, 217, 
219, 244-5, 296, 308, 317, 
328-9 

S. Francis of Assisi, 160 
Franciscan Order, 253-4 
Franck, Sebastian, 298 
Frankfort, 91, 230-1 

Diets of (I43 2 ), 351 (*44 2 ). 73 ; 



(1446), 93-5; (1454), i 2 
Frederici III, Historia, no, 141, 

292, 294-5 

Frederick I, Emperor, 295 
Frederick in, Emperor. See Haps- 

burg 

Freisingen, Bishopric of, 80-2, 85-6 
Nicodemo delta Scala, Bishop 

of, 35, 75, 80-1 
Otto, Bishop of, 295 
Frequens, Decree (1417), 51 

S. Galgano, Abbot of, 95 

Gazzaia, Tommaso della, Podesta of 

Piombino, 28 
S. Gemignano, 8, 10 
Geneva, Lake of, 37-38 
Genoa, 27-30, 142, 172, 211, 318, 

322 

Archbishop of. See Fiesco 
German neutrality, Declaration of 

(1438), 49, 69, 80, 82-3, 85-6, 

90-1, 94, 96, 154, 284 
Germania, 39, 140-41, 286, 288 
Germany, 50, 69-70, 78-80, 84, 86, 

90-1, 95-8, loo-i, 103, 120, 

122, 125-6, 129-31, 136-40, 

146, 158, 176, 207, 213, 220- 

5, 284-6, 288, 293, 308, 323, 

34 2 ~3 
Giblet, Moses, Archdeacon of 

Antioch, 307 
Giglio, 187, 265 
Giotto, 54 
Gobellinus, Johannes, 343-5 



INDEX 



361 



Gonzaga, Carlo, 105 

Francesco, Cardinal, 246, 275 
Lodovico, Marquis of Mantua, 
164-5, 246, 275 

S. Gothard Pass, 31 

Gothorum, Historia, 297 

Gozzoli, Benozzo, 156 

Graz, 121-2, 125 

Greater Iberia, Gorgora, Duke of, 

307 

Gregory i, the Great, Pope, 273 
Gregory xv, Pope (Alessandro 

Ludovisio), 340 
Grenoble, 219 
Griinwalder, Johann, 81-2 
Gualdo, 155 
Guarino, 164 
Gubbio, Antonio da, 218 
Guglielmi, Bartolomeo, 263 

Hapsburg, house of, 94, 174 
Albert n, Emperor, no-ii 
Albert of, Archduke of Austria, 

114, 174, 233 

Frederick in, Emperor, 70, 73- 
5, 78-9, 81-4, 85-91, 97-8, 
101, 103-5, IO 7> IIO > II2 -3i, 
133-4. 139-4, 163, 167-8, 

174, 176, 22O-I, 223-4, 22 8-3O, 
233-4, 28l, 284, 292-3, 303, 
308, 319 

Ladislas Postumus of, King of 
Hungary and Bohemia, 109- 
10, 114, 118, 122-4, X 38, 140- 
i, 214,293 

Maximilian i, Emperor, 342 
Rudolf i, Emperor, 39 
Sigismund of, Count of Tyrol, 

93, 98, 175, 224-7, 22 9, 232-4 
Heimburg, Gregorius, 92-4, 174-5, 

208, 224-9, 231-2, 234-5 
Hinderbach, Johann, 131, 167, 342 
Hohenzollern, house of, 94, 221-2, 

228-9, 233 

Albert Achilles of, Margrave of 
Brandenburg, 124, 176, 221-2, 
2301 
Barbara of, Marchioness of 

Mantua, 165 
Frederick n of, Elector of 

Brandenburg, 94, 221, 229 
Homer, 125 

Humiliati, Order of, 254 
Hundred Years War, the, 37, 40, 

297 

Hungary, 34, 109, 123-4, M 2 . i?3. 
222, 241, 305, 317, 319-21, 
327, 339 



Hungary, Kings of. See Corvinus 

and Hapsburg 
Hunyadi, John, 130, 301-2 
Hus, John, 294 
Hussites, 49, 51-3, 141, 215-18, 

293-4 

Imperial Chancery, the, 71, 76, 82, 

109 
Electors, 83-4, 90-6 

Innamorato, 196-8 

Ischia, 190 

Isidore of Russia, Cardinal, 143, 150 

Italy, 10, 23, 27-8, 31, 34-6, 57-8, 
66, 70, 75, 79, 86-7, 9, 112-3, 
117-9, 121, 128, 131, 135, 144, 
149,152-4,159-60, 171,173,180, 
182-4, l8 6, 188-9, 191, 193-4, 
196, 199, 205, 210, 223, 226-7, 
236, 239, 247, 253, 265, 268, 
274, 278, 292, 397, 304-5, 307, 
317, 320, 326, 329, 341 

Jayme, Don, de Cordova, Cardinal, 

" 246 
Jayme, Don, of Portugal, Cardinal, 

J 43 

Jerome of Prag, 294 
Jerusalem, 172, 307 
S. John, Knights of, 306 
Jordanis, 297 

Jordanus of Osnabruch, 285 
Jouffroy, Jean, Cardinal (Bishop 

of Arras), 209-10, 213, 244-6, 

321 
Julius Caesar, 299 

Keppel, Hartung von, 284 
Kostka, Sdenek, of Postupic, 216 

Laibach, 121 

Lefranc, Martin, 68, 288, 297 
Leghorn, 114 
Lesbos, 306-7 
Lidge, 40 
Lithuania, 314 
Livy, 13 

Lodi, Peace of (1454), 184 
Lolli, Gregorio, 6, 13-14, 22-3, 121, 
209, 249, 251-3, 275, 281, 333, 

335 

Niccold, 7, 13, 74 
London, 42, 46 
Longueil, Cardinal de (Bishop of 

Coutances), 142 
Loreto, 334 

Lothair ii, King of Lorraine, 297 
Louis the Pious, Emperor, 117 



362 



POPE PIUS II 



Louvain, 40 

Low Countries, 31, 40 

Lupi, Mattia, 10 

Lusignan, Charlotte of, Queen of 

Cyprus, 309-10 
Hugh of, Cardinal of Cyprus, 

40-1 

James of, 309 
Lysura, John of, 95 

Macrobius, n 
Maderno, Carlo, 340 
Mahomet n, Sultan, 305-6, 315 
Mainz, 40, 233-4 

Diet of (1461), 231-2 

Archbishop of, 94, 139 

Diether, Archbishop of, 222-4, 

228-9, 231-3 
Malatesta, Novello, 196 
Roberto, 195 

Sigismondo, Lord of Rimini, 
162, 191-6, 199, 204-5, 266, 
320, 323 

Mantegna, Andrea, 165, 246 
Mantua, 2, 157, 159, 162, 164-76, 
178, 180, 182, 192-3, 200, 207, 
226, 240, 251, 260, 263, 268, 
275, 286, 296, 310, 314 
Congress of (1459), 157-60, 165- 
81, 196, 215, 224, 251, 267, 282, 
304, 306, 331, 341 
S. Maria delle Grazie, 174, 251 
Marca, Fra Giacomo della, 253-4 
Marin, Anton, 219 
Marseilles, Archbishop of, 183 
Martin v, Pope (Odo Colonna), 51, 

in, 148 
Marzano, Marino da, Prince of 

Rossano, 183-4 
Maso, Angelo di, 197 
Tiburzio di, 196-9 
Valeriano di, 196 
Matteo di Giovanni, 272-3 
S. Maurice, Knights of, 38, 67 
Maximilian i, Emperor. See Haps- 

burg 

Mayr, Martin, 139-40 
Medici, Cosimo dei, 163, 184-5, 2 39 
Melcorini, house of, 200-1 
Mesopotamia, King of , 307 
Mila, Cardinal Luis Juan de, 143, 

258 

Milan, 6, 22-4, 30, 36, 58-9, 65, 
104-6, 117, 142, 170-1, 180, 
184, 188-9, 195, 236, 248, 296 
Dukes of. See Sforza 
Mincio, 171, 251 
Mistra, 306 



Mondavio, 192-3, 266 

Montalcino, 269 

Montaperto, 19 

Monte Amiata, 5-6, 20, 203, 268-9 

Monte Argentario, 114, 301 

Monte Cavo, 301 

Monte Cimino, 116 

Montefeltro, Federico da, Count 
(afterwards Duke) of Urbino, 
162, 184-5, 192, 195, 198, 297 

Monte Giordano, 92, 175 

Monte Guasco, 332 

Montemarciano, 265 

Monte Oliveto, 4, 301 

Montepulchiano, i, 2, 4 

Monte Soracte, 330 

Montferrat, 188, 322 

Monza, 117 

Morea, 306, 327 

Muffati, house of, 200-1 

Mtinster, Sebastian, 298 

Naples, 113, 1 1 8, 134-5. 154. I 59, 

171, 176-8, 182-9, 193. 210-2, 

236, 265-6, 323, 329 
Kings of. See Aragon 
Narni, 160, 311 
Nassau, Adolf of (Archbishop of 

Mainz), 232-3 
Neapolitan Succession War, 182-91, 

199, 205, 265 
Nemi, 283, 301 
Nero, 40, 313 
Neustadt, 82, 120, 123-4, J 7 6 3*9 

Diet of (1455), 129-30 
Newcastle, 45 
Nicholas i, Pope, 297 
Nicholas y, Pope (Tommaso Paren- 

tucelli, Bishop of Bologna), 

47-8, 89-95, 102-4, 113, 116-8, 

122-32, 141, 158, 247, 250, 282 
Nicopolis, battle of (1396), 128 
Nidastore, battle of (1461), 193 
Nocera, 155 
Noceto, Piero da, 28, 37, 39, 46, 60, 

86, 88, 99, 108, 121-2, 132, 290 
Norway, 43, 314 
Novara, 36. (Bishop of. See Vis- 

conti) 
Niirnberg, 117, 124, 175, 227; Diet 

of (1444), 83-4, 86; Diet of 

(1461), 222, 228-30 
Nymphilexis, 281 

Oliva, Cardinal Alessandro (General 
of Augustinian Order), 242-3, 

3H 
Opera quae extant omnia, 342 



INDEX 



363 



Orcia, Val d , i, 4-5, 269, 271, 278 
Orkney, Isle of, 44 
Orsini, house of, 142, 160 

Gian Antonio, Prince of Taranto, 
183-4, 189-90, 197, 323 

Prospero, Cardinal, 137, 142, 244 
Orvieto, 200-1, 203, 261 
Ostia, 241, 310 
Otricoli, 331 

Padua, 24, 255 

Palaeologus, Constantine xui, Em 
peror of Constantinople, 306 
Demetrius, Despot of Morea, 

306 

Thomas, Despot of Morea, 279, 
306, 310-1 

Palermo, Archbishop of (Niccold de 
Tudeschi), 88 

Palombara, 196-7, 199 

Papacy, 50, 52, 54, 56, 71, 104, 133, 
139, 141-2, 145-6, 148, 152, 
154-5, 158, 168, 178, 180, 182, 
188-9, 192, 195, 197, 204-9, 
211, 213, 216-9, 223-4, 227-8, 
231, 235, 244, 247, 261, 265, 
274, 284-5, 295, 318, 320, 341, 

347-8 
Papal Bulls, Execrabilis (1460), 178, 

207, 227, 286 
Ezechielis (1463), 322-3 
In minovibus agentes (1463), 

283, 286 

Vocavit nos Pius (1458), 157 
Papal States, 6, 155, 159, 180, 189, 

199, 203-5, SGI. 335, 348 
Parentucelli. See Nicholas v 
Paris, Archbishop of, 177 

University of, 50, 53, 208-9, 213, 

343 

Parma, 93 

Passau, Leonardus, Bishop of, 107 
Pastor, Dr. L., 343 
Patras, 306, 311, 313 
Patrizzi, Agostino dei, 249 
Paul II, Pope. See Barbo 
Paul v. Pope (Camillo Borghese), 

339 
Pavia, 58; University of, 36. (Bishop 

of. S* Castiglione, Ammanati) 
Pecock, Reginald, Bishop of 

Chichester, 253 
Pentalogus, 75, 79, 284 
Pepin, King of the Franks, 315 
Peretti, Cardinal Alessandro, 340 
Persia, George, King of, 307 
Perugia, 160-2, 199, 243, 250, 264 
Petrarch, Francesco, 74, 163, 281 



Petrioli, 238, 277 

Petrucci, Battista, 115 
Borghese, 265 
Pandolfo, 265 

Pfullendorf, Michael von, 114 

Piccinino Jacopo, 134, 152, 155, 
i59-6o, 183, 185-7, 189-90, 
192, 197, 202 
Niccol6, 37 

Piccolomini, house of, 2-3, 20, 87, 

164, 250, 260, 262-6, 278 
^Eneas Silvius (Pope Pius n). 
Born at Corsignano (18 Octo 
ber 1405), 3 ; childhood, 4-7 ; 
goes to the University of Siena 
(1423), 8; relations with 
Mariano Sozzini, 11-3; with 
S. Bernardino of Siena, 20-2 ; 
with Filelfo, 22-4 ; becomes 
secretary to Cardinal Capra- 
nica (1431), 24-5 ; travels to 
Basel, 26-31 ; serves various 
masters, 32-7 ; visits Ripaille, 
38 ; Arras, 39-41, England 
and Scotland, 42-6 ; returns 
to Basel (1436), 46; attitude 
towards the Council, 49 ; re 
lations with Cardinal Cesarini, 
53-4 ; joins the anti-papal 
party at Basel, 63 ; activity 
in the Council, 63-9 ; becomes 
secretary to the Emperor 
Frederick in (1442), 70-1 ; 
crowned poet, 73 ; enters the 
Imperial Chancery, 74-8 ; re 
lations with Frederick in, 78 ; 
with Chancellor Schlick, 79- 
82 ; diplomatic activity, 83-7 ; 
mission to Rome and recon 
ciliation with Eugenius iv 
(1445), 87-9 ; conduct of the 
negotiations between Germany 
and the Papacy, 90-6 ; tenders 
the obedience of Germany to 
Eugenius iv (1447), 97 ; moral 
reformation, 99 ; ordained 
deacon and priest, 100 ; made 
Bishop of Trieste (1447), 103 ; 
embassies to Milan (1447, 
1449), 104-6 ; benefices, 106- 
7 ; goes to Italy to prepare for 
the Emperor s marriage and 
coronation, 112 ; made Bishop 
of Siena (1450), 113 ; per 
forms the marriage between 
Frederick in and Leonora of 
Portugal at Siena, 114-5; 
accompanies the Emperor and 



364 



POPE PIUS II 



Empress to Rome, 116-8 ; 
returns to Germany (1452), 
1 20 2 ; defends Frederick in 
against the Austrians, 123 
receives the news of the fali 
of Constantinople (1453), 125 ; 
efforts for a Crusade at Regens- 
burg, 126-7 > at Frankfort, 129 ; 
at Neustadt, 130 ; goes to 
Rome to renew the obedience 
of Germany on the accession 
of Calixtus in (1455), 131 ; 
visits Naples, 134 ; made 
Cardinal Priest of S. Sabina 
(18 December 1456), 135 ; 
life in Rome, 135-40 ; literary 
work, 140-1 ; enters the Con 
clave (16 August 1458), 141 ; 
elected Pope, 150 ; takes the 
name of Pius n, 151 ; sum 
mons the Congress of Mantua, 
157 ; leaves Rome for Mantua 
(20 January 1459) ; visits 
Perugia, 160; Siena, 161 ; Flor 
ence, 162 ; Bologna, 163 ; 
Ferrara, 163 ; enters Mantua 
and opens Congress (i June 
1459), 164-6 ; negotiations 
with the Emperor, 167; Bur 
gundy, 170; Milan, 171; the 
German Princes, 1 74-6 ; France 
176-8 ; leaves Mantua (19 
January 1460), 180 ; supports 
Ferrante of Aragon in the 
Neapolitan Succession War, 
182-91 ; subdues Sigismondo 
Malatesta, 191-6 ; quells riots 
in Rome, 197 ; Government of 
the Papal States, 198-205 ; 
relations with France, 207-14; 
with Bohemia, 214-20; with 
Germany, 220-35 ; the College 
of Cardinals at the beginning 
of his Pontificate, 237-42 ; 
first creation of Cardinals 
(1460), 242-3 ; second creation 
(1461), 243-7 ; patronage of 
Italian scholars, 247-9 ; his 
friends : Goro Lolli, Jacopo 
Ammanati, Giovanni Campano, 
2 49-53 I reforming activity, 
253-4 5 celebration of Corpus 
Christi at Viterbo (1462), 255- 
8 ; relations with Siena, 259- 
62, with the Piccolomini, 262- 
6 ; creation of Pienza, 267-75 ; 
literary work : poems, 281-2 ; 
pamphlets, 283-8 ; histories. 



290-8 ; zeal for the 1 * 1 Crusade, 
304 ; reception of embassies 
and fugitives from the East, 
307-13 ; letter to Mahomet u 
(1461), 315 ; resolves to go on 
the Crusade, 316 ; negotia 
tions with Burgundy and 
Venice, 317-9; speech to the 
Cardinals, 320 ; preparations 
for departure, 321-3 ; distrust 
of Venice, 326-7 ; defection of 
Burgundy, 328 ; leaves Rome 
(18 June 1464), 329 ; journey 
to Ancona, 330-2 ; death 
(14 August 1464), 334-6 ; 
body brought to Rome and 
buried in S. Peter s, 338-9 ; 
transferred to S. Andrea della 
Valle, 339-41 
Piccolomini, Andrea, 187, 263, 265, 

335, 339 
Antonia, 263 
Antonio, Duke of Amalfi, 158, 

188, 190, 205, 211-12, 263, 

265-6, 339 

Caterina, 4, 160, 263, 267 
Costanza, Duchess of Amalfi, 339 
Francesco, Cardinal (Archbishop 

of Siena, afterwards Pope 

Pius in), 243, 253, 263-4, 329- 

3. 339-4 
Francesco Bandini (Archbishop 

of Siena), 344-5 
Giacomo, 263, 265 
Giovanni, Cardinal, 344 
Laudomia, 4, 263, 267 
Montanina, 263 
Niccolo, 321 

Ottavio, Marshal, 263, 266 
Silvia, 265, 339 
Silvio, 263 
Silvio, Conte, 278 
Silvius Postumus, 3, 4, 6, 7, 87, 

98, 198, 262-3 
Vittoria, 265 

Pienza, 1-7, 191, 203, 266-79, 348 
Cathedral, 269, 271-6, 278 
Church of S. Francesco, 262, 267 
Church of SS. Vito e Modesto, 6, 

273 
Palazzo Piccolomini, 2, 270-1, 

273. 275-6, 278 

Palazzo Publico, 2, 274-5, 278 
Piazzo Pio Secondo, 2, 270-1, 

273-5, 278-9 
Pinan, Jean, 65 

Pintoricchio (Bernardino Biagio), 
26, 114, 264 



INDEX 



365 



Piombino, 27, 28 

Pisa, 114, 329 

Pistoia, Antonio da, 152 

Pitigliano, Aldobrando Orsini, 

Count of, 192 
Pius /Eneas, 151 
Pius i, Pope, 151, 273 
Pius u, Pope. See Piccolomini, 

./Eneas Silvius 
Pius in, Pope. See Piccolomini, 

Francesco 
Pizzolpasso, Francesco, Archbishop 

of Milan, 58, 65-6, 74, 75 
Platina, Bartolomco, 3, 248, 343 
Plato, 125 
Po, 164 
Podiebrad, George, King of 

Bohemia, 162, 189, 213-20, 

233-4, 229-30, 233 
Poggio Bracciolini, 23, 108 
Poliziano, Angelo, 246 
Pontano, Lodovico, 64, 71, 88 
Porcaro Conspiracy, the, 197 
Porto, 242 
Porto Venere, 28 
Portugal, Leonora of, Empress, 

1 1 2-8 

Portus Herculis, 114 

Prag, 99, 109 ; Diet of (1462), 218-20 

Archbishop of (Rokykana), 216 

Jerome of, 294 
Pulkawa, 294 

Rabstein, Prokop von, 109, 216-7 

Radicofani, 261 

Ragusa, 333 

Regensburg, Congress of (1454), 
1269, I 58, 168, 221, 293 

Rhine, 31, 34, 39-40 

Rhodes, 307, 310 

Rhone, 211 

Rimini, 162, 191, 195-6 

Ripaille, 38-9, 66-7 

Rolin, Cardinal, 142 

Romagna, 164, 185, 187 

Romano, Paolo, 194 

Rome, i, 5-6, 21, 50, 54, 74, 81-2, 
84, 87, 89-95, 97. 100-1, 108, 
in-3, 115-8, 122-3, I3I-3. 
135-7. 139. i4!-3. M8, 152-3. 
i57-6o, 169, 174, 182-3, I 8 9, 
193, 196-8, 200, 202-4, 206, 

208, 211, 213-7, 2I9-2O, 222, 
226, 229, 237, 240-2, 245, 
247-9, 253, 265-6, 268-9, 277, 
279, 284, 292-3, 297, 301, 
304-12, 318-20, 322-3, 327-9, 
332, 338-9, 341 



Rome, S. Andrea clulla Vallc, Church 

of, 339-4 1 
Capitol, 1 1 6, 198 
Colosseum, 116 
Diocletian, Baths of , 116 
Hadrian s Mole (Castel S. Angelo), 

1 1 6, 155, 158, 265 
Lateran Palace, 117, 156 
S. Maria in Cosmedin, Church of, 

117 
S. Maria Maggiore, Church of, 

142 
S. Maria sopra Minerva, Convent 

of, 102 
S. Maria del Popolo, Church of, 

312-3 

Pantheon, 116, 196 
S. Peter s, 54, 116-7, I 5 I J 94 
203, 240-1, 261, 264, 301, 
312-3, 330, 339-41 
Ponte Molle, 159, 311, 330 
S. Spirito, 310 

Vatican Palace, 141, 143-4, X 5 6 > 
159, 199, 220, 282, 309-10, 
313. 332, 340, 343 
Rosate, Isidoro de, 57-8, 74 
Rosmini, Carlo, 23 
Rossano, Prince of. See Marzano 
Rossellino, Bernardo, 268, 273-4 
Rouen, Archbishop of. See Estou- 

teville 

Bailli of, 177 

Roverella, Bartolomeo, Cardinal 
(Archbishop of Ravenna), 190, 

247 

Lorenzo, 138 
Rudesheim, Rudolph von, 231 

Sabina, 197-8 

Sala, Gentile dclla, 201, 204 

Salerno, 134 

Sallust, 285 

S. Salvatore, Abbadia, 6, 269 

Salzburg, Burchard, Archbishop 
of, 243 

Sano di Pietro, 272 

Sappho, 307 

Sarantana, Val, 106 

Sardinia, 28 

Sarno, 185-6, 196 

Sarzana, 102, 254 

Savelli, Jacopo, 196-8, 204 

Savoy, 56, 188, 310, 322 

Amadeus vm, Duke of (Anti- 
Pope, Felix v), 38-9, 66-70 
81, 83, 85, 91, 94, 104, 290-2 
Louis, Duke of, 167, 310 
Louis of, 309 



3 66 



[POPE PIUS II 



Scanderbeg (George Castriotes), 306 
Scarampo, Luigi, Cardinal (Patri 
arch of Aquileia), 89, 142, 169, 
237-9, 242, 244 
Schlick, Heinrich, 80-2 

Kaspar, Imperial Chancellor, 16, 
74-6, 79-82, 93, 103-4, in, 
281 
Scotland, 42-4 

James i, King of, 41, 43 
Segovia, John of, 71, 104, 290-1 
Semendria, 304-5 
Seneca, 285 

Senftleben, Heinrich, 136, 138, 167 
Sermini, Gentile, 18 
Servia, 304 
Sessa, Bishop of, 196 
Sforza, Alessandro, Lord of Pesaro, 

184-6 
Bianca Maria, Duchess of Milan. 

See Visconti 

Francesco, Duke of Milan, 104-6, 

117, 144, 152, 162-3, 170-1, 

173, 180, 182, 184, 187-8, 

192-4, 296, 322, 329 

Galeazzo Maria, Duke of Milan, 

163 

Ippolita, 165 
Sicily, 34 
Siena, 2-3, 5, 8-10, 16-7, 21, 23-5, 

27, 37, 53, 57-8, 7*. 73, 77, 79, 
87, 95, 112-6, 121-2, 131, 

134, 136, 143, 152-3, 158, 

I6I-3, 185, 192, 196, 200, 209, 

215, 238, 249, 254, 259-66, 268, 

270, 272, 277, 281, 290, 300, 
307, 322, 327, 334 
Cathedral, 9, 19-20, 113, 153, 

261 

Council of (1423), 51 
S. Francesco, Church of, 20, 263 
Hospital of Santa Maria della 

Scala, 9 

Loggia del Papa, 266 
Monti (Factions), 8, 20, 161, 

259-62 

Pastimes of, 15, 18-20 
Piazza del Campo, 9, 15, 20, 300 
Piccolomini Library, 26, 264 
University of, 7, 9-13, 114, 286 
Sigismund, Emperor, 15, 52, 57, 

74, no-i 
Simplon Pass, 31 
Sinigaglia, 192-3, 195, 266 
Sinope, 306 
Sixtus iv, Pope (Francesco della 

^ Rovere), 266 
Sixtus v, Pope (Felice Peretti), 340 



Sluys, 43-4 

Soest, 170 

Sonnenberg, 225-6 

Sozzini, Mariano de , 11-3, 15-6, 

22, 121 

Spain, 34, 314 
Specchio, Bonanno, 198 
Speyer, 39, 222 
Spoleto, 160, 263, 331-2 ; Giovanni 

da, 10 

Strassburg, 39, 98 ; Bishop of, 67 
Styria, 121, 126 
Subiaco, 202 
Sweden, 314 

Symonds, John Addington, 277 
Szech, Dionys, Archbishop of Gran, 

109-10 

Tabor, 293-4 

Taranto, Archbishop of (Giovanni 
da Tagliacozzo), 81, in 

Prince of. See Orsini 
Tauss, battle of (1431), 51 
Taz, Wilhelm, 76, 82 
Tebaldo, Cardinal, 143, 150, 169, 

197, 247 
Terence, 282 
Terni, 160, 331 
Terracina, 187, 301 
Thames, 42 
Theatines, 339 
Thirty Years War, 263 
Thucydides, 43 
Tiber, 160, 301, 330-1 
Tivoli, 197, 202, 254, 298, 300, 319 
Tizio, Sigismondo, 15 
Todeschini, Nanni, 263, 265 
Todi, 190, 203, 263 
Tolfa, 31 7-8, 341 
Tolomei, Bartolomea, 7 

Jacopo, 112 

Tomasio, Francesco, 152 
Torquemada, Juan de, Cardinal, 

71, 95, 143, 150, 256 
Toulouse, Seneschal of, 212 
Tournay, 40 
Tozio, Luca da, 197 
Trajan, 242 

Trasimeno Lago di, 161 
Traversari, Ambrogio, 71 
Trebizond, Empire of, 306 ; David, 

Emperor of, 307 
Trent, 65, 107 

Trier, Archbishop of, 91, 96, 231 
Trieste, 3, 103-4, IO 7 "o-i, 167 
Troja, 189 
Tronto, 185-6 
Turk, 21, 62, 124-5, 127, 130, 132, 



INDEX 



367 



143, 150, 155, 157, 169, 171, 

173, 176, 179, 194, 210, 213, 
215, 219, 222, 239, 254, 277, 
279, 302, 304-9, 312, 314, 316- 
20, 323-4, 326-7, 336, 338-9, 

347-8 
Tuscany, 4, 161, 203, 256, 262, 269, 

275, 277, 301 
Tuschek, Johannes, 109 
Tweed, 45 

Udine, 60-1 

Umbria, 160 

Urban n, Pope (Otto, Bishop of 

Ostia), 173 
Urban iv, Pope (JacopoPantaleone), 

256 
Urbino, 192. (Count of. See 

Montefeltro) 

Valence, County of, 211 

Vallombrosa, 254 

Varna, battle of (1444), 21, 62 

Vecchietta, 272-3 

S. Veit, 121 

Venice, 39, 57-8, 105, 118, 169, 172, 
188, 195-6, 219, 254, 305-10, 
316-9, 322-4, 326-7, 329, 

336-9 
Doge of (Cristoforo Moro), 317, 

323-4, 334, 336-8, 341 
Doge of (Prospero Malipiero), 

316-7 

Venus, 20, 30, 99 
Verena, Abbess of Sonnenberg, 

225-6 
Vergil, n, 13, 69, 151 



Via Appia, 204 

Via Francigena, i 

Vienna, 71, 75, 100, 103, 120, 124, 

233, 292, 299 
Concordat of (1448), 49, 104, no, 

224, 232 
Diets of (1452), 123-4; ( I 46o), 

222-3 

University of, 123 
Visconti, Bartolomeo, Bishop of 

Novara, 22-3, 35-7 
Bianca Maria, Duchess of Milan, 

165, 306 

Filippo Maria, Duke of Milan, 
27-8, 35-6, 57-9, 63, 65, 104, 
in 

Gian Galeazzo, Duke of Milan, 6, 8 
Vitelleschi, Bartolomeo, Bishop of 

Corneto, 193, 244 
Viterbo, 141, 203, 212, 255-8, 282-3, 

313 
Voigt, Dr. Georg, 302 

Wittelsbach, house of, 221-2, 228, 

233 
Frederick i, Elector Palatine, 223, 

231, 233 
Louis of, Duke of Bavaria, 127-8, 

221 

Wolkan, Dr. Rudolf, 343 
Worms, 39-40 

York, 45 

Zamora, Bishop of, Cardinal, 133- 

4, M3 

Zbigniew, Bishop of Cracow, 109 



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